A spin-off company based on technology developed by an Oregon Health & Science University researcher has reached an important business milestone. The Portland-based company, called AMES Technology, will use an anonymous $1.7 million investment to begin clinical trials of its stroke rehabilitation technology while developing products for clinical use and sale. The stock received for this investment also was donated to OHSU to support neuroscience research at its Neurological Sciences Institute.
The stroke rehabilitation technology is based on the research of Paul Cordo, Ph.D., a scientist at the Neurological Sciences Institute on OHSU's West Campus in Hillsboro. The technology is called assisted movement with enhanced sensation (AMES). It is completely noninvasive, involving computer-controlled devices that assist stroke patients who have suffered loss of movement in their arms or legs. Specifically, during a therapy session, the device helps a patient move the impaired limb while vibrating the tendons of the limb to stimulate sensory receptors in the muscles. Preclinical studies of 22 stroke patients with these devices showed that, in 80 percent of cases, significant arm or leg function was regained over a six-month period of self-applied treatment in the home.
"For many of these patients, this means that they are able to once again perform daily tasks such as brushing their hair and teeth - actions that many of us take for granted. In other cases, patients regained the ability to walk," said Cordo, who serves as founder and chief technology officer of AMES Technology. "Now that we have significant data showing that this is a promising therapy, AMES Technology is entering an exciting new stage as a company, where we will conduct clinical trials in rehabilitation clinics and prepare to market the devices. This is especially important given the tremendous impact we think this technology will have."
Stroke is the leading cause of disability. About 750,000 people suffer strokes in the United States each year. Of those who survive, nearly half a million suffer significant motor impairment.
Because the anonymous gift was in the form of stock, OHSU may benefit in the future from annual dividends and later when the stock is sold. The transaction is considered to be unusual due to the size of this initial investment from a single individual and because the investor's gift to OHSU consists of stock from a privately held company.