HEALTHTECH startup Neuroglee has secured US$2.3 million in pre-seed funding to advance its product pipeline for the treatment and management of patients at the early stage of Alzheimer's disease.
Tokyo-based pharmaceutical company Eisai Co led the round, with participation from chief executive and founder of Singapore-founded Biofourmis, Kuldeep Singh Rajput.
The company, which was founded by his younger brother, Aniket Singh Rajput, aims to discover, design and commercialise digital therapies that can help manage neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. These can be used together with a patient's medication to create a more "holistic approach to treatment" for such diseases.
Mr Aniket Singh Rajput, chief executive of Neuroglee, said that the market for neurodegenerative diseases is "severely underserved", despite being faced with a growing ageing population.
"Through the power of software, we are able to combine our expertise in cognitive neuroscience, behaviour modification and digital biomarkers into a digital form of treatment," he added. "This helps to augment conventional medication and bridges the gap between patient and clinician."
For example, the firm's lead product, NG-001, displays games and other cognitive tasks on a tablet. While a patient uses the tablet, the artificial intelligence-backed software will track his cognitive functions, and recommend new tasks and games for the patient based on biomarkers such as the speed of finger movement and task completion time.
It can also use images from the patient's past to evoke positive memories and emotions. This has been shown to improve cognitive function and reduce depression and anxiety in patients as part of their therapy.
With this product, caregivers and clinicians can monitor a patient's adherence to prescribed medication and the patient's response to treatment outside the hospital.
It plans to begin clinical trials for NG-001 in early 2021, with ambitions to open its US operations in Boston next year.
Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people around the world. According to 2015 estimates, one in 10 people aged 60 years and above may have dementia in Singapore.
Murali Doraiswamy, co-founding scientific adviser at Neuroglee, said: "The Covid-19 pandemic has (also) highlighted the urgent need for better care models for seniors living with neurodegenerative diseases.
"Neuroglee's digital therapeutics platform aims to set the benchmark for a new era of personalised, high quality, integrative care for people with dementia and those at risk."