The following news story is a look at an innovative funding experiment that Ottawa-based start-up NeuroQore is running. Please note that NueroQuore is not a registered charity. As such, if you choose to donate to this independent campaign, you will not be issued a tax receipt. For details, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
At a time when many start-ups are jumping on the crowdfunding bandwagon, one new business is seeking funds from a more traditional source - albeit an unusual one for start-ups: donors.
Ottawa-based start-up NeuroQore
has recently launched a $1.2 million online fundraising campaign
for its transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) technology through global funding platform, Indiegogo. Money raised isn't going into operations, but rather into a form of technology validation - clinical trials.
Motivated by limited evidence of the comparative effectiveness of TMS relative to ECT in the treatment of depression, NeuroQore wants to run randomized, single-blinded clinical trials at the Ottawa Hospital comparing the two. To meet the recommendations of the Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee, the company needs to test the technology on at least 120 people, a sample size that carries a $1.2 million price tag.
The technology has already been funded through OCE's Experiential Learning
and Market Readiness
programs, and through a partner fellowship
between OCE and the Ontario Brain Institute (OBI), as well as MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation and Technology Evaluation, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, National Research Council of Canada, Ontario Health Technology Advisory Committee and the Ottawa Hospital. However, none of those programs provide that kind of cash, or cover clinical trial expenses. So, NeuroQore is taking Indiegogo's tagline at face value: Go fund yourself.
It's an ambitious campaign, even with Indiegogo's promise of global exposure if the gogofactor (a unique, merit-based algorithm that tracks campaign activity) is high enough. With a closing date of Thursday, April 4, the team of entrepreneurs has a small window to raise a lot of funds. Even if they don't meet their goal, however, the funds raised will be used to recruit a smaller number of people for trials.
These trials will benefit patients in Ontario and support adoption of the TMS technology in Canada, the United States, and Europe, where about 40 million people are diagnosed with depression every year. Over 70% of people don’t get satisfactory results with pharmaceuticals, which are typically prescribed for treatment. In Ontario there is a gap between outpatient pharmacotherapy and inpatient treatment with many patients not wanting to endure hospitalization. NeoroQore's TMS is painless, non-invasive outpatient treatment for adults with severe depression that instead uses magnetic stimulation of the brain to affect mood.
"This is a new spin on crowdfunding," said Mehran Talebinejad, NeoroQore founder and CEO. "Using the crowdfunding principle of getting small amounts of funding from large numbers of people, we can create a fundraising wave and make real change in mental healthcare in Ontario and in Canada. Ultimately, the goal of this campaign is to get more people with depression into remission faster."