Introducing Beacon Biosignals: a neurotechnology company founded to develop machine learning-enabled EEG neurobiomarkers and accelerate precision medicine for any disease state affecting the brain.
In the precision medicine era, diagnostics have become integral to the development of novel therapeutics. Oncology has led the way with molecular diagnostics supporting an explosion of investment and innovation in targeted therapeutics. We believe neuroscience is next. At the 2020 J.P. Morgan Conference, Roche CEO Bill Anderson noted “We think neuroscience has the potential to be in the '20s what oncology has been in the last decade.” At Beacon Biosignals, our thesis is that EEG will drive this change and accelerate precision medicine for any disease state affecting the brain, including disorders spanning neurology, psychiatry, and sleep.
I am thrilled to announce that Beacon Biosignals is emerging from stealth with an oversubscribed $27M Series A financing led by General Catalyst and with participation from Casdin Capital and Beacon’s seed angels. Beacon was founded in 2019 with vision of a computing platform designed to scale the interrogation of large brain datasets with unprecedented throughput and capability. The range of use cases is endless, so how do we envision creating impact? Our focus is on partnering with the most cutting-edge novel therapeutic partnering with the most cutting edge science is how we drive impact. Beacon is dedicated to helping our biopharma partners accelerate novel therapeutics to reach patients with significant unmet need.
We are betting big on EEG neurobiomarkers, because we believe three big developments are about to converge:
- The rise of scalable machine learning
- Increasing recognition of quantitative neurobiomarkers
- A surge in development of precision medicines for the brain
A Decade for Quantitative Neurobiomarkers. The development of precision therapies for the brain will increasingly rely on the ability to measure and evaluate neurophysiological activity patterns on individual patients.
Beacon Biosignals holds one of the world’s largest clinical EEG databases and couples that data with proprietary machine learning algorithms to identify neurobiomarkers associated with patient sub-types, drug activity and therapeutic efficacy. EEG is standard of care in the clinical diagnosis and management of many neurologic diseases and sleep disorders, but features of clinical significance are often buried in hours of EEG data. Broader uptake of EEG technology has been further limited by labor-intensive workflows and variability in clinician expert interpretation. Beacon’s machine learning teams develop high-performing, reliable algorithms that can replicate the adjudicated consensus interpretation of multiple trained epileptologists, as well as novel neurobiomarkers (e.g. quantitative epileptiform spike burden) that exceed human capabilities over many hours or days of recording. Beacon’s platform provides an architectural foundation for robust, data-tailored neurobiomarker pipelines that carry new discoveries from development to targeted deployment into clinical trials and novel therapeutic areas.
Our current progress has demonstrated that EEG is incredibly information-rich physiologic output reflecting genetic substrate, accumulated exposures and acute neurophysiologic changes, beyond what is captured in MRI, fMRI, CSF analyses or genetic analyses.
Machine learning for EEG neurobiomarkers
Our current progress has demonstrated that EEG is incredibly information-rich physiologic output reflecting genetic substrate, accumulated exposures and acute neurophysiologic changes, beyond what is captured in MRI, fMRI, CSF analyses or genetic analyses. We have already identified novel electrophysiologic signatures functionally linked to primary cognitive endpoints in Alzheimer’s disease. We’re further encouraged by the applications of our platform toward heterogenous psychiatric diseases such as schizophrenia and major depressive disorder.
The impact of quantitative neurobiomarkers
Proceeds will be used to scale Beacon’s computational biomarker discovery platform and address the massive unmet need for quantitative clinical trial endpoints, safety tools, and computational diagnostics for neurology, psychiatry, and sleep medicine. The utility of quantitative biomarkers also includes patient stratification, PK/PD, and efficacy endpoints. The breadth and variety of successes we’ve had working with our pharma partners demonstrates just how critical it is to quantifiably measure the effects novel therapeutics have on the brain. Reliable and replicable quantitative endpoints help drive faster, better-powered trials.
Operating where Expertise matters
Several key ingredients that have gotten us to this stage. Our co-founder and CTO Jarrett Revels brings experience from scalable computing at MIT. Our scientific co-founders Brandon Westover MD, PhD and Syd Cash MD, PhD bring deep clinical expertise and the insight from decades of collective experience running labs at the forefront of applying machine learning to neuroscience. Our Series A financing round adds new commercial and operational experience onboard as we aim to scale across an even broader set of therapeutic areas and deepen our existing partnerships. General Catalyst has helped scale healthtech businesses like Livongo and Casdin Capital strengthens our biopharma network. Our Series A financing also includes new angel investors including Andy Beck, CEO of PathAI. We’re thrilled to have Robin Washington join Beacon Biosignals’ board of directors. Robin was previously CFO at Gilead and currently holds board seats at Alphabet (the parent company of Google), Salesforce and Honeywell. With this amazing foundation in place, Beacon is comprised of 24 of the most brilliant, collaborative, and driven people I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with.
This is what Beacon is all about, pairing human expertise with scalable computation to enable new treatments for patients with unmet need.
Join us! See: https://beacon.bio/careers