How neurotech will change the world, one brain at a time

High end business magazine Condé Nast Portfolio has a feature article on the latest developments in the 120 billion dollar neurotech industry that aims to develop drugs and devices to cure diseases and optimise our brains.

The article takes a broad view of the industry, but also highlights a few areas which are looking hot and gives a guide to the sort of business thinking that motivates both the neurotech giants and the fledgling startups.

It seems the industry is currently a high stakes, high risk investment prospect as the majority of companies do not make money, so investors are betting long-term or hoping they’re backing a blockbuster.

The piece also mentions the work of Zack Lynch of the neurotech industry group NIO, who in partnership with his co-director and wife Casey Lynch, seems to have been lobbying the US government for significant support for the sector:

The couple’s new push is to get more federal dollars channeled toward the industry. Zack has been traveling back and forth to Washington, sometimes taking along neurotech C.E.O.’s, to promote a $1 billion “national neurotechnology initiative” that Representative Patrick Kennedy, a Rhode Island Democrat, recently announced he will introduce in Congress. The legislation asks the federal government to spend $200 million a year for five years on neurotech, including $30 million for the Food and Drug Administration to train more experts, $80 million for the National Institutes of Health to coordinate the neuroresearch efforts that are now run by 16 different institutes, and $75 million to increase small-business grants for neurotech companies.

One issue the article touches on is the deregulation of the industry so they can develop pharmaceuticals for cognitive enhancement of healthy people without having to get their medication licensed for a specific medical disorder.

While some remain suitably demure about the possibilities (at least in public), this is obviously the neurotech holy grail and is undoubtedly high on the long-term goals of the industry.

The article also has a couple of fantastic interactive features accompanying it – one on drugs and the other on implants. Also check the right-hand column for a series of related articles from the same publication.

Link to Cond√© Nast Portfolio article ‘The Ultimate Cure’ (via BrainWaves).

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