Y Combinator grants funding to neuro-tech startup working to improve mental healthcare accessibility

By Jake Schell February 27, 2022

Actipulse Neuroscience, a neuro-tech startup specializing in non-invasive brain therapies, has joined the renowned Y Combinator, granting the company large-scale resources to improve the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), tobacco addiction, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease.

The company’s patented neuromodulation devices, pictured above, use magnetic pulses to directly target the root causes of these brain conditions. Although similar FDA-approved therapies already exist, the current complexity and cost of care limits them almost exclusively to a hospital setting. Designed to be used in home, Actipulse’s treatments eliminate these issues, vastly improving accessibility.

The treatment for MDD is currently in its final FDA pivotal phase, and the company hopes to achieve full FDA approval for its in-home treatment within 24 months. Other treatments, including those to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease, will begin efficacy trials later this year, and tobacco addiction treatment will begin FDA pivotal trials within 12 months.

These accessible treatments could have huge implications for the U.S. healthcare system, particularly for the combined 7 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Actipulse’s technology would alleviate the financial burdens of current treatments, which average over $52,000 per year. And as the diseases progress, Actipulse’s in-home therapies would also ease the physical and emotional demands of frequent hospital visits.

In addition, MDD and other psychiatric treatments would fill a growing gap in mental healthcare, a problem exasperated by the COVID-19 mental health crisis. Compared to 10% in 2019, over 42% of U.S. adults now report symptoms of anxiety and/or depression, and almost one-third of Americans in need of mental healthcare or medication do not have access to it, citing inadequate providers and high costs.

Adrien Châtillon, CEO and co-founder of Actipulse Neuroscience, said, “There are just not enough mental and brain health professionals to treat and help these people. This is why we strongly believe that mental health treatment from home, including our technology and other telehealth solutions, is the future of psychiatric treatment.”

Adrien Châtillon, CEO and co-founder of Actipulse Neuroscience (Courtesy of Actipulse Neuroscience).

With the mission to improve and “democratize access to a more affordable healthcare,” resources from the Y Combinator will accelerate Actipulse’s clinical pipelines, alleviating costs of treatment and improving accessibility for patients everywhere. Châtillon defined the mission and spirit of his company by saying, “We are focused and obsessed on reaching patients — not just the bottom line.”

According to Châtillon, this mission of accessibility is directly responsible for the company’s dual headquarters in Boston and Mexico City, both of which work in conjunction with the FDA. While this cross border approach allows for swift breakthroughs in research, it also ultimately allows for a more affordable end product.

He said, “It’s extremely capital intensive to launch a medical company in the Boston area. What Mexico City brings us is flexibility, and most importantly, cost-effective trials. Instead of putting all of our hopes and capital into one clinical trial, we can diversify that risk by having multiple studies running at the same time.”

Now, with capital and networking from Y Combinator, Châtillon is confident that his company can continue to change the future of healthcare accessibility. He said, “Whenever I meet investors, many of them will ask me the same old cheap question, ‘How is Actipulse going to become a one billion dollar company?’ I always take pleasure in answering them that the correct question should be, ‘How is Actipulse going to become a one billion patients company?'”