An Indiana-based startup has landed more than $2 million in funding to continue development of a device which improves the speech clarity of people with Parkinson’s Disease. SpeechVive was created by Purdue University Professor Jessica Huber.
SpeechVive is a device that fits in a patient’s ear like a hearing aid. BioCrossroads says the device can detect when a patient is speaking and makes the patient speak louder and clearer through an involuntary reflex called the Lombard Effect.
SpeechVive has received a two-year, $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, along with an additional $975,000 in investments from BioCrossroads, the Purdue Foundry and a private investor. The money will go toward the design, building and testing of a telehealth system which would allow speech pathologists to program a SpeechVive device remotely from anywhere in the world.
Huber said the funding will be "transformative" for her company.
"Approximately 89 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease will have speech issues which SpeechVive can address," said Huber. "A telehealth platform will help us rapidly expand into more rural areas within the U.S. and to areas outside the U.S. where there are larger populations impacted by Parkinson’s disease.."
BioCrossroads says a telehealth platform will allow SpeechVive to reach patients who cannot travel to speech pathologists.
"SpeechVive is an excellent example of how research and discovery in the lab of one of our universities can be translated into a commercialized product that improves the quality of life for patients throughout the world," said David Johnson, president and CEO of BioCrossroads. "The company has promising technology that is attracting investors both inside the state and nationally."
You can learn more about SpeechVive in the video below: