The Brain Forum Innovation Award offered opportunities for early-stage startups to connect with leading experts in brain research, as well as with investors interested in the solutions of the future. The six startups, selected out of more than 120, making the final round each had five minutes to pitch their projects to the audience and a jury representing venture capital, science and entrepreneurship.
The Audience Award went to the French startup Rythm: Quentin Soulet de Brugière (Co-Founder & CSO at Rythm) and his team developed their first product called Dreem, a wearable headband that monitors brain activity using EEG and actively stimulates it to enhance the quality of deep sleep. Its mass-market release is planned for 2017. PolyNeuron won the Jury Award: the jury was impressed by this new class of immunomodulatory drug by virtue of its proprietary Antibody-Catch® technology platform. Platform-derived compounds selectively eliminate disease-causing autoantibodies in autoimmune disorders. According to Ruben Herrendorff, Co-Founder of the Swiss startup, clinical trials will start in 2018. MassChallenge, the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet, awarded Pragma Therapeutics, a France based company developing new drugs designed to fight post-traumatic stress disorder, hearing loss and tinnitus by treating their cause directly. The new concept presented by Sylvain Celanire (CEO of Pragma Therapeutics) is linked to mGlu7 receptor allosteric inhibition and is capable of preventing or treating glutamate-induced brain and ear dysfunctions.