Neupulse, a UK-based company that is developing a wristband to help manage the symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, has raised $3.2m in seed financing.

The trade name of Neurotherapeutics Limited, Neupulse spun out from the University of Nottingham in 2021 following positive research into managing tics by electrical stimulation.

The company has developed a wearable device that stimulates the median nerve in the wrist. Neupulse says that the prototype can reduce tic frequency and severity.

A Neupulse spokesperson told Medical Device Network the funding will be used “to finalise the prototype and start our regulatory applications.

“We are currently developing our Clinical Evaluation Plan, which will determine the level of evaluation required”.

The company has already touted results from a clinical trial showcasing the device’s capability in managing the symptoms of Tourette’s. A total of 121 people across the UK tried the device at home for 15 minutes a day over a month.

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Based on participant feedback, the device led to a reduction in tic frequency of more than 25% while undergoing stimulation. Tic severity was reduced by 35% after four weeks, with more than half of people who received stimulation reporting at least a 25% reduction compared to baseline.

Tourette’s syndrome is a neurodevelopmental condition. It is characterised by tics – involuntary, repetitive movements and vocalisations. The cause of the syndrome is unclear and there is no cure.

Although there are several medications available to patients that can help manage tics, they also contain side effects such as weight gain and sedation which can impact quality of life. Research has been conducted into non-pharmacological treatments such as transcranial stimulation, but results are varied and there are additional challenges around accessibility.

The scientists behind Neupulse stated in the 2023 research paper that the peripheral nervous system presents an alternative stimulation target. Based on previous positive data, which tested electrical stimulation on the median nerve, the team developed a wearable device. Kinneir Dufort, a design consultancy, helped the team build the product.

Neupulse CEO Paul Cable said: “Our device is an alternative to the current provision of treatment for Tourette’s syndrome, which is centred around medication and cognitive behaviour therapy. The goal is for Neupulse to be available to the Tourettes syndrome community globally in the years ahead.”

Median nerve stimulation has also been the target of wearable bands for the treatment of nausea. ReliefBand, for example, has a US Food and Drug Administration-cleared product for post-operative nausea.

A market model by GlobalData estimates the global neuromodulation device market will be worth $11.4bn by 2033, up from $6bn in 2022.