SpeechVive receives funding from BioCrossroads, Purdue Foundry and National Institutes of Health
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind., May 18, 2016 — More than 8 million people worldwide and 1.5 million in the United States suffer from chronic neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease. Along with the physical symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease, patients can also suffer from a speech condition known as hypokinetic dysarthria. The condition is characterized by reduced vocal volume, impaired speech rate and diminished articulation.
SpeechVive is an Indiana start-up company, based on the research of Jessica Huber, Ph.D. at the Department of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, Purdue University, focused on developing medical devices to improve speech clarity of Parkinson’s patients. The SpeechVive device, which fits like a hearing aid in the patient’s ear, detects when a patient is speaking and elicits louder and clearer speech through an involuntary reflex known as the Lombard Effect.
SpeechVive was awarded a two-year $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as an additional $975,000 in investments from BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund II, The Purdue Foundry and a private investor. The funds will be used to design, build and test a telehealth platform that enables speech pathologists to program the SpeechVive device from a remote location anywhere in the world. The telehealth platform will allow SpeechVive to expand more rapidly by reaching elderly or physically impaired patients who cannot travel to speech pathologists.
“Approximately 89 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease will have speech issues which SpeechVive can address. 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,” Dr. Huber added. “This funding will be transformative for our company.”
Dr. Huber has worked with Parkinson’s patients at Purdue for the past 15 years.
“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 L. Johnson, President and CEO of BioCrossroads. “The company has promising technology that is attracting investors both inside the state and nationally.”
To learn more about SpeechVive, visit speechvive.com
BioCrossroads (www.biocrossroads.com) is Indiana’s initiative to grow, advance and invest in the life sciences, a public-private collaboration that supports the region’s existing research and corporate strengths while encouraging new business development. BioCrossroads provides money and support to life sciences businesses, launches new life sciences enterprises (Indiana Biosciences Research Institute, Indiana Health Information Exchange, BioCrossroadsLINX, OrthoWorx and Datalys Center), expands collaboration and partnerships among Indiana’s life science institutions, promotes science education and markets Indiana’s life sciences industry.