Groundbreaking auditory nerve implant attracts industry investment
September 15, 2021— Blackrock Neurotech has announced plans to invest in a novel auditory nerve implant (ANI) device that restores hearing for the deaf. The ANI device technology is being developed as part of an NIH-supported effort in which BME Professor Hubert Lim serves as lead researcher.
A news release from Blackrock, a provider of brain-computer interface technology, notes this will accelerate getting devices into patients, saying:
The latest funding from Blackrock builds upon a $9.7 million five-year grant from NIH awarded to the University of Minnesota in March 2019. The new investment will enable the development and translation of a new ANI through preclinical studies and later, a pilot clinical trial, where the ANI is then implanted in up to three deaf patients. The plan to initiate the pilot study will take approximately a year to complete.
Prof. Lim credits the additional project funding with allowing them to expand their outlook for the ANI on a much larger scale, with the goal of ultimately implanting 40-50 deaf patients within the next three years.
The ANI device technology is being developed as part of an NIH-supported effort between the University of Minnesota, Blackrock Neurotech, MED-EL, Hannover Medical School (MHH), Feinstein, and the University of Utah.