OptoCeutics brings 40 Hz light therapy to Alzheimer’s patients

Thursday 07 Jan 21

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Marcus Schultz Carstensen
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DTU Fotonik
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Learn more about the clinical trials: ALZLIGHT Pilot

Medical device company OptoCeutics has begun clinical trials to test their technology on patients at Zealand University Hospital.

 

The device can potentially be used for slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and may also provide solutions to some of the world’s worst neurodegenerative diseases.

47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s disease on a global scale and, so far, there has been no proven treatment. In fact, 99% of all attempts at developing medication for Alzheimer’s have failed.

This opens, not only a huge market, but also a chance to make a real difference for real people. Medical device company OptoCeutics is taking that chance with medical light therapy.

Light therapy to slow down Alzheimer’s disease

OptoCeutics, a spinout company from DTU and UC Berkeley established in 2018, has developed light therapy for slowing down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, using non-invasive masked 40 Hz light.

Research conducted at MIT indicates that the progression of Alzheimer’s can be slowed by using 40 Hz stroboscopic light therapy. However, 40 Hz stroboscopic light is irksome to use, disturbing and causes annoyance, which makes it unsuitable as comfortable light therapy.

"Our ambition is to go to market as soon as possible with a product that can hopefully make a difference for millions of people"
CEO Mai Nguyen, OptoCeutics

“OptoCeutics’ solution removes the stroboscopic light from normal stroboscopic 40 Hz light while it retains the stimulation effect on the brain. The 40 Hz light is built so parts of the brain still “sees” the flicker while the visual perception of the light is a non-flickering continuous light - similar to a white LED light source”, explains Marcus Schultz Carstensen, CTO and co-founder of OptoCeutics.

Consequently, the light appears comfortable. OptoCeutics has incorporated it into a stylish lamp that patients can have in their home, thereby enabling homebased healthcare and an improved quality of life.

The company has now begun testing their device on a group of patients at Zealand University Hospital, in the project ALZLIGHT Pilot, in addition to continuation of pre-clinical trials in mice.

Bringing treatment to patients

OptoCeutics recently got an additional investment of DKK 10 million from angel investor Kaare Danielsen, who had already committed to putting DKK 20 million in the company. This investment will take them through phase 1 of clinical trials on patients under ALZLIGHT Pilot.

“The focus of the first trial will be on safety of the intervention, feasibility of the proposed intervention time and method as well as indication of efficacy. We expect to have tested it on 14 people by the end of 2021, which completes phase 1”, says CEO and co-founder Mai Nguyen.

The company aims to sell their product as a class II medical device for Alzheimer’s disease in Europe by 2025. But before then it will go through an extensive 3-phase programme and be tested on thousands of patients.

“Our ambition is to go to market as soon as possible with a product that can hopefully make a difference for millions of people. It’s what gets us up in the morning. We are a little behind due to COVID-19, but we are back on track and believe it will happen”, concludes CEO and co-founder Mai Nguyen.

The equipment was recently CE marked, which shows that the equipment lives up to the EU legislation for general safety, like photobiological safety and electrical safety.

It is already being sold as a non-medical product, and they are using this to collect new data on usability and publish in scientific journals.