Dear Friend of NeuroNetworks Fund:
Despite the unexpected “virtual” year we have all just experienced, we are happy to report that NeuroNetworks Fund (NNF) has made significant progress over the last months. In recognition of Autism Awareness Month we want to share with you our recent accomplishments:
Stemina: This was one of our earliest investments. Stemina is an early-stage biotechnology company that developed a diagnostic test for autism based on serum biomarkers. NNF joined with a private foundation to fund a clinical trial to evaluate the ability of the Stemina test to detect autism in children earlier than other tools. The study results were presented at the American Academy of Neurology and were well-received. This success has allowed Stemina to attract additional funding and to conduct further testing.
MindNest Health: MindNest is a digital health company that was spun out of the Yale Child Study Center, one of the most respected clinical centers in the country for the treatment of children with autism and other pediatric developmental disorders. MindNest developed an app called Spairo that takes the tools used by the Yale clinicians and makes them available to families remotely. Early on, we saw the promise of MindNest and realized that this practical tool could be brought to market more quickly than the team envisioned. NNF helped them to recruit an experienced healthcare executive to be their first professional CEO. We also partnered with Connecticut Innovations and a private philanthropic fund to raise a $300,000 investment in the spring of 2020.
NNF has taken a seat on their board, and we are regular advisors to the team. Our counsel and funding has allowed MindNest to accelerate far beyond their initial projections. Currently, they are planning to raise a Series A round in mid-2021, ahead of schedule. They are also planning beta tests in pediatric offices in anticipation of a commercial launch in late 2021. The Company is preparing to take office space at a New Haven incubator facility this summer.
EYSZ: This is a start-up medical device company that has developed a product to more accurately detect seizure activity in children. It is estimated that approximately 50% of seizures go undetected due to a lack of effective tools for home use. EYSZ has developed a pair of glasses that uses passive, oculometric data to reliably detect seizures and other neurological “vital signs.” They have completed a successful proof-of-concept study and a Phase 2 study is currently recruiting. EYSZ has won competitive funding from the Epilepsy Foundation. NNF is partnering with the EYSZ team to raise the funding that will allow EYSZ to run a trial to test its value proposition with physicians and families.
You can learn more about these portfolio companies and our partners on our redesigned website, www.NeuroNetworksFund.org. Please visit the website where you can read Brian’s blog, “Not Just A Dad,” which is receiving excellent reviews. With these successes under our belts, we believe we have reduced to practice NeuroNetwork Fund’s founding thesis: that we could leverage philanthropic donations to identify and accelerate the development of promising, young companies with products and technologies to help those living with autism, epilepsy, schizophrenia and related neuro disorders.
Our goals for 2021 are to build on our 2020 achievements:
- Continue to partner with the team at EYSZ to help them get the funding needed for the next stage of trials for their seizure-tracking device;
- Leverage our connections in the autism and epilepsy spaces to continue to identify new companies or technologies that could benefit from our counsel and funding;
- Expand our Scientific and Executive Boards with individuals who have the expertise and passion to help us execute our mission;
- Build on the success we have achieved with our social media network now over 25,000 strong, and grow this grass-roots source of engagement and funding;
- Expand our connections to private foundations, donor-advised funds or family offices that have a mission of funding work in epilepsy, autism and schizophrenia;
- Secure funding to operationalize our virtual organization, with development staff that can help us broaden and accelerate our funding partners, allowing us to support even more worthy young companies.
As a friend and supporter of NeuroNetworks Fund, we welcome your partnership in 2021 – to help us make new connections, to help identify promising companies and technologies, and to invest in the work we are doing by supporting us financially. All donations to NeuroNetworks Fund are fully tax-deductible, and your support can help us achieve our goals even more quickly.
Donations can be made online here: https://neuronetworksfund.org/203-2 Thank you for your support of NNF. If you have friends or colleagues in your network who would be interested in joining us in our mission, please feel free to forward this letter to them.
We send our best wishes to you, your families and your networks for a healthy and safe 2021.
Sandra Panem, Ph.D., Founder and President
Brian Horsburgh, Ph.D., Founder, Treasurer and Secretary
NeuroNetworks Fund is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Your donation is fully tax-deductible to the extent allowable by law. (EIN: 46-4189615)