Imperial College fund invests in tech start-up tackling Parkinson’s disease

The Imperial College Innovation Fund (ICIF )has completed its first investment of £205,000 into Charco Neurotech.

The ICIF is an early-stage investment fund launched at Imperial early last year and managed by Parkwalk Advisors to invest in early-stage, high-growth, knowledge-intensive companies.

A team of designers, doctors, engineers and scientists at Charco Neurotech is developing a non-invasive vibrating device called CUE1, to help manage Parkinson’s symptoms. The investment from ICIF is part of a £500,000 seed round from investors, including Amadeus Capital Partners, Crista Galli, RCA and Oxbridge Angels. The investment will be used to launch CUE1 in the UK/EU market early this year.

Parkinson’s disease is a degenerative disorder which destroys nerve cells in the brain that control movement and has no cure. It affects 145,000 people in the UK and 10 million people worldwide, primarily in the over-60s. Existing drug treatment causes a number of side effects, including random involuntary movements.

Lucy Jung, co-founder and chief executive of Charco Neurotech, said: “Having worked closely with Parkinson’s patients over the past few years, we believe that CUE1 has the potential to significantly improve their symptoms through its unique controlled vibration technology. We are excited to continue our work on the device and we look forward to the outcome of our proposed clinical trials.”

Dr Brijesh Roy, seed investment manager at Imperial College London, added: “Lucy and her team are just one great example of high-quality start-ups founded by Imperial’s staff, student and alumni community. Since launching ICIF in the summer, we have met hundreds of amazing founders and I am delighted that first investment will go to support such an enthusiastic and capable team making such an impact in patients’ lives. Charco’s founders have engaged with Imperial’s entrepreneurial ecosystem throughout their start-up journey and we are thrilled that the launch of ICIF with Parkwalk expands this support to include investment.”

Moray Wright, chief executive of Parkwalk, said: “We are delighted to be managing ICIF on behalf of Imperial College London and to see its first investment. Parkinson’s disease is a debilitating condition and we’re proud to be managing a fund that invests in companies such as Charco Neurotech, which seeks to improve the quality of life of those who suffer from Parkinson’s.  Imperial is one of the world’s great universities, with a particularly strong reputation in deep science and technology. Its start-up companies are developing disruptive technologies that can have global impact and benefit wider society, as well as create the potential for significant investor returns.”

Date published: February 3, 2021

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