Flow Neuroscience, a HAX 2017 investment, is developing a new treatment for depression combining brain stimulation with behavioral therapy. The Sweden-based startup is announcing today that they have secured a $1.1 million seed round from Khosla Ventures, SOSV and a private Swedish angel investor.
The funding will enable Flow to complete the regulatory process, get its first product approved in the EU, and grow its team. Flow graduated from the Shenzhen-based HAX Accelerator program, and recently received the EU H2020 SME instrument grant.
Flow's wearable device is linked to a behavioral training program mobile application based on peer-reviewed scientific literature. The technology is called tDCS ('transcranial direct current stimulation'), which uses weak currents to stimulate the brain. It has been shown to change neuronal activity, and have an effect on depressive symptoms similar to antidepressant medication, with much fewer and less severe side effects. The app teaches the patient how to eat, sleep and exercise to further reduce depression.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) - commonly known as depression - is a mental disorder affecting around 21M people in Europe and 350M worldwide (4,7% of the world population). Depression is the costliest brain disorder in Europe and in addition, most cases of suicides can be attributed to depression, representing more losses than war, crime and terrorism.
"We want to stop this epidemic by offering a solution that is not only effective, but holistic, safe, and that patients can use at home or anywhere." said Flow Neuroscience's CEO and clinical psychologist Daniel Månsson
The first antidepressant was developed in the late 80's and their use has skyrocketed, growing by 20% per year between 2000 and 2010 in Europe. However, their effectiveness was recently questioned, and side effects now affect around 65% of users. The sector is in need of a breakthrough.
"Depression is a global health issue of enormous impact. Scalable technologies that can help treat sufferers in their own homes could be a huge benefit to both quality of life and decreased disability. The Flow Neuroscience team combines a deep knowledge of cutting edge technologies with human design sensibilities and adds to that a great practical experience in mental health. We look forward to working with the team in helping people around the world struggling with depression." -Alexander A. Morgan, MD PhD, Khosla Ventures.