What You Should Know:
– Beacon Biosignals, a neurotechnology company applying artificial intelligence to EEG (electroencephalography) to unlock precision medicine for any condition affecting the brain, has announced an oversubscribed $27M Series A financing led by General Catalyst and with participation from Casdin Capital. This capital brings Beacon Biosignals’ total funding to date to $30M.
– Founded in 2019 by MD/PhDs and engineers from Harvard and MIT, Beacon’s launch was propelled by the vision of a computing platform designed to scale the interrogation of large brainwave datasets with unprecedented throughput and capability. Beacon Biosignals holds one of the world’s largest clinical EEG databases and couples that data with proprietary machine learning algorithms to identify neurobiomarkers associated with patient sub-types, drug activity and therapeutic efficacy.
Powering Precision Medicine for the Brain
EEG is the standard of care in the clinical diagnosis and management of many neurologic diseases and sleep disorders but features of clinical significance are often buried in hours of EEG data. Broader uptake of EEG technology has been further limited by labor-intensive workflows and variability in clinician expert interpretation. Beacon’s machine learning teams develop high-performing, reliable algorithms that can replicate the adjudicated consensus interpretation of multiple trained epileptologists, as well as novel neurobiomarkers (e.g., quantitative epileptiform spike burden) that exceed human capabilities over many hours or days of recording. Beacon’s platform provides an architectural foundation for robust, data-tailored neurobiomarker pipelines that carry new discoveries from development to targeted deployment into clinical trials and novel therapeutic areas.
Beacon’s platform is engineered to adapt to any EEG data source and maximize the scientific impact of biopharma partners’ highest-priority clinical trials. In smaller phase 1 trials, the application of quantitative physiologic biomarkers enables precise characterization of dose-related therapeutic neuroactivity, provides mechanistic insights and identifies novel primary or supplementary endpoints. By identifying variance across patient subgroups, these capabilities further inform trial enrollment criteria or help identify target responder populations. Neurobiomarkers can also be used to detect evolving diseases to identify patients who are candidates for early intervention.
The company plans to use the Series A funding to scale Beacon’s computational biomarker discovery platform and address the massive unmet need for quantitative clinical trial endpoints, safety tools, and computational diagnostics for neurology, psychiatry, and sleep medicine. In addition, Beacon plans to pursue new partnerships with leading pharma and biotech companies, and build on existing partnerships with Novartis, Praxis Precision Medicines.
“Our current progress has demonstrated that EEG is incredibly information-rich physiologic output reflecting genetic substrate, accumulated exposures and acute neurophysiologic changes, beyond what is captured in MRI, fMRI, CSF analyses or genetic analyses. We have already identified novel electrophysiologic signatures functionally linked to primary cognitive endpoints in Alzheimer’s disease. We’re further encouraged by the applications of our platform toward heterogenous psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder,” said Jacob Donoghue MD, PhD, Co-Founder and CEO of Beacon. “Beacon is dedicated to helping our biopharma partners accelerate novel therapeutics to reach patients with significant unmet need. We are excited to partner with General Catalyst and Casdin Capital to scale our platform to drive new insights for patient stratification, PK/PD, and efficacy endpoints.”