Elon Musk’s Neuralink has a competitor – ‘Science’ has launched new platform to accelerate medical device innovation
Science, a biotechnology startup that competes with Neuralink, has launched a new platform called Science Foundry. The platform aims to assist other companies in quickly developing and producing medical devices by offering them access to more than 80 of Science’s internal infrastructure tools and services, such as its thin-film electrode technologies. The cost of developing medical devices is often too expensive for early-stage startups, with individual tools costing between $200,000 and $2 million, and companies potentially spending hundreds of millions of dollars to build a manufacturing line. Science Foundry hopes to reduce these barriers to innovation and enable other smart people with different ideas to utilize Science’s infrastructure.
Science is part of the growing brain-computer interface (BCI) industry, which deciphers brain signals and translates them into commands for external technologies. Science’s flagship BCI system is the Science Eye, which aims to help patients with two forms of serious blindness by restoring visual input to their brains. The Science Eye utilizes a thin, flexible micro-LED array that is surgically implanted over the retina and controls a group of light-sensitive cells in the optic nerve. Science’s implant is powered by special glasses outfitted with tiny sensors and cameras, which send images up to the optic nerve. Science has been testing the technology in rabbits and hopes to conduct trials with human patients as soon as next year.
Science Foundry aims to support companies working on similarly ambitious ideas, with demand expected from other neurotechnology companies, medical technology startups, and even quantum computing companies. The cost of using Science Foundry is comparable to working with academic facilities, but customers will have more commercialization opportunities. Science Foundry will benefit Science and the broader industry by enabling larger-scale capabilities to further develop and enable the community.