iota Biosciences, a biotech startup, has secured $15m in series A funding from Horizons Ventures, Astellas, Bold Capital Partners, Ironfire and Shanda.


Image: iota Biosciences secures Series A funding. Photo: Courtesy of Chaiwat/

The company, which develops implantable bioelectronic devices, said that it will use the funding to accelerate commercialization of its millimeter-sized ultrasonic devices, which can provide therapeutic applications for several chronic conditions from inflammation to motor disorders and eventually to cognitive impairment.

iota Biosciences holds an exclusive license to ‘neural dust’ platform based on technology developed at the University of California, Berkeley by co-founders and co-CEOs Jose Carmena and Michel Maharbiz.

The neural dust platform is powered by ultrasound, which enables the company to develop devices the size of a grain of sand that avoid the dangers associated with wire- and battery-powered implantables.

As they are smaller in size, the devices can be implanted deeper into the body than regular implants. iota Biosciences claims that the neural dust can interface directly with specific nerve clusters, offering more precise diagnostics and treatments.

Maharbiz said: “We are excited to embark on the next stage of our mission to transform medicine with our implantable technology.”

Carmena said: “This funding round will advance the technology to clinical pre-trials, bringing this cutting-edge technology to the bedside as soon as possible to save lives and improve health outcomes.”

The devices will require no batteries or wires and they will record electrical information, stimulate nerves and communicate with other machines through ultrasound. They can modulate the information transmitted through nerves and enable doctors to better treat conditions ranging from arthritis to cardiovascular disease.

UC Berkeley Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute director Ehud Isacoff said: “iota’s neural dust platform is a major breakthrough that opens up many doors for bioelectronic medicine and brain-machine interfaces.

“Like many other startups that have originated at UC Berkeley, iota emerged from exploratory research. The company’s success and promise of life-changing effects for millions who suffer from debilitating disease points to the importance of funding fundamental experimental research.”

iota Biosciences has also appointed James Hattersley as the senior vice president of corporate business development. Hattersley is a seasoned business development executive with over 25 years of business development and scientific leadership experience in the life sciences industry.