By TechThop Team
Posted on: 20 Aug, 2022
A few people familiar with the matter say Elon Musk has contacted Synchron Inc about a potential investment in his own company Neuralink, which is racing to connect the brain directly to machines.
A potential agreement between Musk and Synchron was discussed in recent weeks, according to sources. Synchron and Neuralink have not confirmed if any transaction would include a tie-up or collaboration.
As far as regulatory clearance is concerned, Synchron, which operates in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, is ahead of Neuralink, the sources said. The sources said that it has not decided whether it will accept an investment, and there is no guarantee that a deal will be made.
A spokesperson for Musk and a representative for Neuralink did not respond to requests for comment. Neither Synchron nor its spokesperson responded to our request for comment.
Neuralink employees are frustrated by Musk's slow progress since he expressed frustration to Tesla and SpaceX executives, four current and former employees said. Two sources said Musk did not convey that frustration to Oxley when he contacted him.
A decision has not yet been made on Neuralink's application to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for permission to begin human trials. In response to a request for comment, an FDA spokesperson did not immediately respond.
The company, which Musk launched in 2016, is expected to receive regulatory approval by 2020, Musk said in a public presentation in 2019. His goal was to start human trials in 2021, he said at a Wall Street Journal conference.
The Synchron company was formed in 2016 to develop a brain implant that could be installed without cutting into the skull, which is very different from Neuralink's implant.
To facilitate paralyzed patients operating digital devices, this project aims to help them operate them only with their minds.
A key milestone for Synchron was crossed last month when it implanted its device for the first time in a patient in the United States. The FDA cleared the product for human trials in 2021, and four Australian patients have completed studies on it.
According to market research firm Pitchbook, Synchron has approximately 60 employees and has raised about $65 million from investors.
300 employees are working at Neuralink, with offices in San Francisco and Austin, Texas. It is estimated that the startup has raised $363 million from investors up to this point, according to Pitchbook.
Among Neuralink's eight founders, only Musk and implant engineer Dongjin 'DJ' Seo have stayed on as part of the company's leadership team, and both are currently serving as directors.
As a result of his resignation as Peuralink's president last year, Max Hodak is now an investor in Synchron, which he co-founded. There has been a previous instance in which Musk has made contact with Neuralink's competitors.
It is known that he had discussions in 2020 with a technology company that specializes in brain technology, Paradromics Inc, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. The sources also said that Musk abandoned these talks subsequently, as stated by two of them.
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