Chasing $8B Market, BrainWaveBank Teams Up with Kx

Jack Murtha
OCTOBER 24, 2017
brainwavebank,kx,belfast,machine learning,ai,hca news
Credit: BrainWaveBank

BrainWaveBank is trying to make waves—or brainwaves—in the big data and analytics end of the healthcare industry.

The Northern Ireland-based start-up has developed a high-resolution brainwave-scanning headset for use while the owner plays a mobile game. Its creators designed the 2-pronged tool for consumers to track their cognitive abilities, ultimately recognizing anomalies and concerns earlier than is typical.

Now, the company has tapped Kx, a data-focused division of the global technology provider FD, to power the neuroscience platform that analyzes information contained in the world’s first “big data collection of brainwave activity,” according to an announcement. Together, the companies hope to penetrate the cognitive health assessment market, which is slated to boom to $8.1 billion in the next 4 years, according to analysts. BrainWaveBank also plans to use the database to help pharma outfits identify clinical trial candidates for drugs for early-stage neurodegenerative diseases, according to the statement.

“Through its ability to rapidly process vast amounts of time-series data, provide analytics in real-time, and integrate with our machine learning pipelines, Kx is ideally placed to power our neuroscience platform,” Ronan Cunningham, CEO of BrainWaveBank, said in a statement. “It also has the ability to scale seamlessly to support our plan to create the largest and most valuable database of EEG data, tagged with demographic, behavioral, and lifestyle information, that has ever been assembled.”

Kx will foster real-time analytics on brainwave activity and speed up analyses of aggregated data, according to the press release. Artificial intelligence will break down large datasets—collected regularly from BrainWaveBank customers—to investigate sources of cognitive decline.

Other data support the potential that the start-up saw in this area. Roughly 90% of people with cognitive health disorders either receive diagnoses too late or never at all, Kx noted. Meanwhile, the incidence of Alzheimer’s is poised to triple by 2050, affecting 130 million people. But experts have said early detection is key to delaying onset of the disease and keeping the cost of care down, possibly by 35% or more.

Through its wearable EEG scanner, BrainWaveBank aims to spur those improvements. Users wear the headset at home while playing “specially-designed” mobile games, “for a few minutes a day, several times per week,” according to the announcement.

The information gleaned through that is used to monitor an individual’s cognitive health. BrainWaveBank employs machine learning to compare the data to a user’s history and those within their demographic. And then the information—which can be cleaned for medication, sleep, and other activities—then enters a larger database.

“BrainWaveBank is led by experienced computational neuroscience and cognitive psychology experts with a business development road map that is capable of transforming the way cognitive health is measured and treated,” Kx CEO Brian Conlon said in the release. “Combining this domain expertise with our Kx technology has the potential to deliver new insights in this important area of healthcare.”

BrainWaveBank, headquartered in Belfast, UK, was founded less than 3 years ago, according to the start-up monitor CrunchBase. Earlier this year, according to European news reports, BrainWaveBank raised £1 million on the promise of its cognitive-tracking technologies.

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