CORDIS - EU research results

a disruptive implantable neurostimulator for the treatment of epilepsy

Project description

Therapeutic nervous system stimulation moves into the era of fibre optics

The nervous system modulates and mediates information propagation via both electrical and chemical signals. Disruption to these signalling pathways can lead to pathologies such as epilepsy or depression. Neural stimulation, particularly of the vagus nerve, located in the neck, has proven to be beneficial in some cases. Implantable vagus nerve stimulators are currently delivering electrical impulses using standard metal wires that go under a patient’s skin and connect to the nerve. Replacing these metal wires by optical fibres offer several advantages including improved safety, compatibility with MRI, better control over stimulation parameters, and increased device lifetime. The NAOS project has developed an implantable neurostimulator using optic fibres. EU-funding is supporting development of a business plan to get it to patients faster.


The objective of this innovation project is to develop a disruptive implantable neurostimulator for the treatment of epilepsy with the
goal to place it on the market by 2021.

Neurostimulation is a $4.7 billion market and one of the fastest-growing areas of medicine, that has been approved for the treatment
of several neurological disorders. Among these, epilepsy is the most frequent nervous system disease. Of the 50 million people
suffering from epilepsy, with 3.7 million in Europe, approximately one third of them are resistant to medication but respond well to
the neurostimulation.

Neurostimulators are small implanted devices stimulating nerves or brain tissue. The innovative aspects of the project are based on a
Synergia Medical’s patented concept and consists in replacing wires by optical fibres.

The innovation will improve the traditional therapy and brings the main following competitive advantages:
- it renders the neurostimulator compatible with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) diagnosis
- it provides a highly tunable stimulation and ultra low power consumption
- it improves safety due to electrical isolation and allow for a smaller size implant

The main objective of this feasibility study is to complete the business plan by:
- completing a market study and refining specifications of the neurostimulator with key opinion leaders in the field of epilepsy;
- manufacturing prototypes of neurostimulators to validate stimulation capabilities, low power consumption, compactness, optical
chain efficiency and estimate production costs;
- refining the development and production planning, including budget and human resources, based on cost estimates and test
- finalizing the selection of subcontractors involved in the production chain;
- filing additional patents and realizing a complete FTO.

Call for proposal


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Net EU contribution
€ 50 000,00
1435 Mont-Saint-Guibert

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The organization defined itself as SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) at the time the Grant Agreement was signed.

Région wallonne Prov. Brabant Wallon Arr. Nivelles
Activity type
Private for-profit entities (excluding Higher or Secondary Education Establishments)
Total cost
€ 71 429,00