Neurovation Labs Secures Air Force Phase II Contract and Army xTechSearch Phase I Prize to Develop PTSD Diagnostic and Treatment, Adds Military Appointment to Advisory Board
NEW YORK, June 25, 2020
Neurovation Labs, Inc., a biotechnology company developing the first objective diagnostic and companion treatment for Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), today announced that it has been awarded a U.S. Air Force Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II contract through AFWERX and Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). This award follows the completion of a successful Phase I contract where the company gained the sponsorship of the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) 24th Special Operations Wing to pursue the development of the PTSD diagnostic and treatment. Separately, Neurovation Labs was selected to advance through the first stage of the highly selective Army Expeditionary Technology Search program (xTechSearch) v5 competition. The Phase II contract and the xTechSearch award total over $750,000, which will significantly accelerate the development of these pivotal healthcare technologies.
PTSD is a devastating mental health condition that affects nearly 10% of the U.S. population and imposes an annual economic cost exceeding $42 billion. Developing after a traumatic event such as warfare, its incidence is quite high among military servicemembers and veterans. The deleterious effects go beyond the symptoms themselves—veteran suicide is double the rate of non-veteran suicide, and servicemembers from the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars are nearly three times more likely to use illicit drugs like opioids to self medicate. At the same time, there is a large civilian population suffering from PTSD caused by accidents, assaults, natural disasters, and other traumas.
Neurovation Labs is addressing critical shortcomings in PTSD healthcare. PTSD is currently poorly diagnosed using subjective symptom checklists. The symptoms are then individually treated by off-target, ineffective drugs or by various cognitive therapies. The company is targeting a protein increase in the fear center of the brain—a groundbreaking discovery that offers the first potential PTSD biomarker— to develop a diagnostic brain scan and companion medication for the disorder.
“We are thrilled to continue our work with AFWERX and the U.S. Air Force on the development of our PTSD diagnostic and treatment,” stated CEO Dr. Jennifer Perusini. “The current coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the importance of including mental health in the country’s long-term recovery and disaster relief plan. We believe that our products will benefit not only the military, but the civilian population as well.”
Neurovation Labs has also appointed Brigadier General (ret.) Harris Kline of the U.S. Air Force’s Judge Advocate General Corps to its Advisory Board. The General served numerous tours throughout the world, often in dangerous places, in support of the Air Force and observed first-hand the devastation that PTSD can have on individuals mentally, emotionally, and physically.
About Neurovation Labs, Inc.: Neurovation Labs is a biotechnology company revolutionizing the way psychiatric disorders are diagnosed and treated, with an initial focus on PTSD. Founded in 2016, the company is leveraging a major brain biomarker discovery to develop two products: (1) a molecular diagnostic and (2) a companion targeted treatment. Both products are in preclinical development and have the potential to transform PTSD healthcare.
About AFWERX: Established in 2017 by the Secretary of the Air Force, AFWERX is a catalyst for agile Air Force engagement across industry, academia, and non-traditional contributors to create transformative opportunities. The core mission of AFWERX is to improve Air Force capabilities by connecting innovators, simplifying technology transfer and accelerating results. AFWERX has partnered with the AFRL, a scientific research organization operated by the U.S. Air Force Materiel Command, to streamline the SBIR process to speed up the experience, broaden the pool of potential applicants, and decrease bureaucratic overhead.
About xTechSearch: Founded in 2018, the xTechSearch competition seeks novel, disruptive concepts and technologies to support the Army’s top modernization priorities, medical technologies, military-engineering technologies and other critical technology focus areas that can provide technology advancement or enable cost savings throughout the Army systems’ life cycle. The Army xTechSearch program provides cash prizes to selected small businesses to proceed through four phases of the technology competition, ultimately leading to a $120,000 prize and invitation to demonstrate proof of concept of dual-use technologies to a panel of Army judges.
SOURCE Neurovation Labs Inc.