The new capital brings the total amount raised by the company to $7.5 million. The money will be used to support product development and sales as the 10-employee company’s device, called Sonas, readies for an initial set of clinical trials later this year.
Founded in 2013, Burl Concepts is based on the research of Thilo Hoelscher, a neurologist who previously served as a professor at UC San Diego, where he founded the UCSD Brain Ultrasound Research Laboratory.
Hoelscher patented technology behind a portable battery powered ultrasound device for detecting and potentially treating strokes. Some of his research over the years was funded by the National Institutes of Health, and he performed pilot trials of the technology in his native Germany.
Strokes are “the most time sensitive disease we have,” said Hoelscher. “Once a vessel is blocked and the brain cells are not being supplied with oxygen, two million brain cells die every minute.”
About 800,000 people suffer strokes each year in the U.S. Even severe strokes can be treated, but not every hospital has the capability, said Hoelscher.
Having Sonas in an ambulance to diagnose a stroke in the field allows paramedics to send patients to the best treatment center.
“It’s not getting to the hospital as fast as possible but getting to the right hospital as fast as possible,” said Hoelscher.
Hoelscher and Jim Brailean, a Ph.D. electrical engineer who founded PacketVideo in San Diego, began talking shortly after Brailean’s mother had a minor stroke, was misdiagnosed and sent home from the hospital, only to suffer a more severe stroke, he said.