One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure:
How NASA Inadvertently Helped Launch Modius Health
By Kayleen Brown, Associate Analyst, MedTech Strategist
Meet Dr. Jason McKeown. Jason is co-founder and CEO of Neurovalens, an independent “careable technology” company whose Modius Health platform is using neuroscience with the goal of solving the mega-problems of obesity, diabetes, epilepsy, migraine, arthritis, anxiety, depression, and if that's not enough, even long-term space travel.
Jason became the youngest University of California, San Diego (UCSD) Visiting Scholar when he was invited to be part of the UCSD lab by his self-proclaimed inspiration: Professor V.S. Ramachandran, Director of the Center for Brain and Cognition and Advisor for Neurovalens or as he is most known, the inventor of the “mirror box” and author of “Phantoms of the Brain.”
Initially, the pair’s early work focused around stroke rehabilitation, but when they realized they could stimulate the more crucial areas in the center of the brain, particularly the hypothalamus which controls fat storage, muscle mass, and bone density, the duo looked back 50 years and discovered a NASA treasure trove of research. These early NASA papers declared conclusively, for the very first time, that vestibular stimulation has a direct effect on fat storage. Cue the lightbulb moment, and from there Modius was born.
As CEO of a company with a promising technology for treating a wide range of seemingly unrelated diseases and applications, Jason pursued an unorthodox dual funding approach: the traditional MedTech financing path and an Indiegogo Crowdfunding campaign in August 2017. The original funding target – secondary to the real value: data feedback – was $50,000 and was surpassed in only four hours. By the end of the campaign, Modius Health had made a name for itself in the consumer market and raised more than $2 million.
So, what’s next for this idiosyncratic start-up? Running parallel to the traditional multi-center clinical trials in the United States and the United Kingdom is an effort to continue Modius Health’s success on the consumer path, with orders in 84 countries and individuals chomping at the bit to get in on the ground floor. And if that’s not enough, and to bring the NASA influence full-circle, Jason casually mentions that the team has started early work on spaceflight and long-distance space travel. Yes, space travel.
From the entire MedTech Strategist team, we offer Jason, and the Modius Health team, huge congratulations and best of luck.
WATCH THE SHORT, 11-MIN VIDEO INTERVIEW ABOVE TO LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. MCKEOWN, AND HOW MODIUS HEALTH IS MAKING AN IMPACT ON THE HEALTHCARE INDUSTRY.
Author's Note: Modius Health was a finalist at the MedTech Innovator Pitch Event & Stage Competition that took place this April at MedTech Strategist’s Innovation Summit Dublin, Ireland, a global medical device investment and partnering conference.
Have comments on this post, or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover in the Community Blog? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further Reading in MedTech Strategist:
Obesity Update - "The FDA, Investors Support Obesity Devices for the Bulk of Patients,” by Mary Stuart, Senior Writer/Market Analyst
Start-Ups to Watch - “Metavention: A Device-Based Intervention for Type 2 Diabetes that’s ‘One and Done,’” by Mary Stuart, Senior Writer/Market Analyst
Start-Ups to Watch - "Helius Medical Technologies: Using Neurostimulation to Help Retrain the Brain,” by Mary Thompson, Executive Editor
Start-Ups to Watch - "Autonomic Technologies: Neurostimulation Alleviates Intractable Headache Pain,” by Wendy Diller, Senior Writer/Market Analyst
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