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Although the Covid-19 Pandemic caused havoc in many areas, there was one good thing. It made mental health more prominent. Multiple experts agree that will soon be followed by the viral pandemic.
Actipulse Neuroscience, a Mexican start-up, could play a key role in serving patients suffering from anxiety and depression. It offers a 90% discount on psychiatric treatments, making it very lucrative for patients. Accessible to patients and medically sound.
Actipulse has also a presence at Boston, Chile, 8 Latin American countries, and manages an business model which is both comprehensive and attractive to investors. It conducts medical research in order to develop and produce its innovative Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation medical equipment. The company distributes the devices to neurologists and psychiatrists and links patients with the nearest specialist.
Actipulse’s potential looks very bright considering the lingering psychiatric diseases caused by the pandemic. Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s sibling, was inspired to invest in the company through Crowfounding Republic. The startup is currently pursuing capital raising and bringing its creation to the United States.
What was Actipulse’s birth story?
Adrien Chatillon, a French entrepreneur, and Gabriel Villafuerte, a Mexican doctor, spoke out about how they teamed up to make Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation accessible to more people. This treatment, which has been around for over 30 years, is still only available to a small number of wealthy urban patients.
Actipulse was founded in Mexico in 2017. Adrien Chatillon, Actipulse CEO, stated that we are a non-invasive neurotechnology company that specializes in brain stimulation for treating neurological and psychiatric disorders.
Gabriel Villafuerte, a UNAM surgeon with a doctorate of Neurosciences, and the director of Actipulse Medical Research, said, “What sets us apart is that we have a primary objective to bring this technology anywhere, to any patients regardless of their economic situation.”
Adrien claims that the initial idea for the device was started in 2016, at the request of his father. Actipulse has been improved over the years.
While I was in Luxembourg, two of my Euopa companies had been created and I was very interested in FinTech. The 32-year old entrepreneur says that he wanted to make a difference and help others. My father first introduced me to this idea and to his innovation. I found it amazing because I was able to democratize access. I decided that this would be the next project I wanted to do to benefit a lot more people. He continues, “Acctipulse” was created.
The father and son decided to start the business in Mexico. Mexico is a place they have lived in for many years and love. Mexico is creating a market in health and technology startup because of its abundance of doctors, researchers scientists, designers, engineers, etc. He said that when you create a project, you are able to bring together all these people and produce very exciting results.
Gabriel was here, a student for a PhD on Neurosciences. He had a particular focus on Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation.
“The initial contact was quite random. I was just finishing my doctorate and doing my research on neurodegenerative diseases. Adrien, an EMT that I had found on LinkedIn, contacted me and told me all about his project. We became partners after a few drinks,” recalls the surgeon of 28 years.
Adrien focuses on the business side of the company, Villafuerte was a member of the scientific and medical part. Adrien is the one who joined Villafuerte. “We always say, that I am both the heart and Gabriel the brain,” stated the Frenchman.
What’s Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?
Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) is a treatment that uses electromagnetic impulses to target specific brain areas to address different neurological and psychiatric conditions. Cofepris, Mexico, has approved it. Since 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration gave the go-ahead for it to be used in the treatment of drug resistant depression. It has had excellent results.
We take technology that’s been around for many years and make it better. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation is available in Europe and the United States since 1985. However, it has not been practical in Mexico, ” Villafuerte explains.
According to the doctor, neurons function through electricity. “They turn on and off.” A coil generates a magnetic force that changes rapidly, which allows them to alter the electrical activity in the brain. He clarifies that the magnetic field isn’t a permanent one.
TMS was approved by the FDA in 2018 as an OCD treatment and 2020 to be used for quitting. Chatillon stated that TMS is becoming a popular technology because patients are not able to respond well to traditional drugs.
Actipulse created such Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Equipment. Actipulse.
The equipment required to administer this therapy is large, complicated and expensive. The traditional Transcranial Magnet Stimulation machine, which would take up an entire room and can be used by a regular doctor only after six months of training. It costs approximately 2.5 million Mexican Pesos. It is also very painful for patients, as they must wear a helmet made of heavy metal and stay still throughout the sessions.
Actipulse founders designed EMT gear with a minimum area of two square meters. Instead of a helmet, the coil made by engineers is supported by a lightweight, velcro-covered, headband. The operating system and device are intuitive and can be used by doctors, nurses, and their assistants. Adrien and Gabriel were able to lower the cost by more than 90%, to just 235,000 Mexican pesos
What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy?
Actipulse will connect the patient to a doctor and perform an assessment to see if they qualify for TMS. He will explain the treatment and recommend a series of sessions depending on the diagnosis.
The patient arrives at the clinic, wears a cap with a coil attached to it and connects to the stimulation equipment. It lasts on average 45 minutes and does not involve surgery, drugs, or hospitalization.
To achieve remission, the patient must attend his stimulation sessions at the clinic, hospital or office each day. Villafuerte clarifies that “We don’t say heal” because mental disorders like depression may always come back, but they can be kept on hold.
What is the cost of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation?
EMT therapy usually consists of between 15 and 30 sessions, depending on the doctor’s discretion. Each session costs approximately 400 dollars in the United States. A round of Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation costs between 6,000 to 12,000 dollars (about 8,000 Mexican pesos). The CEO of the startup stated that they also charge this amount in Latin America. It is not possible, and is only available to a small percentage of Latin American population.
Actipulse doctors charge an average of 1,000 Mexican pesos per session. This means that a round EMT can cost anywhere from 15,000 to 30,000 pesos.
It may seem costly, but it’s not expensive if you consider how much a person without a response to drugs can spend on drugs. They could spend six months or more trying out drugs costing up to 1,500 pesos per month. Transcranial magnetic stimulation is less expensive and takes less time than other drug treatments, according to UNAM’s researcher and doctor.
The most important thing about our work is to help as many people as we can. In these four years, we have treated over 10,000 people with depression. Our goal is to help 100,000 Latin American patients by 2025,” Adrien said.
A business model to make mental health easier
Actipulse initially was stuck at the selling stage for the device to doctors. However, to reach their goals they had to make it more accessible to patients and connect them with the equipment.
The company now offers a model where a doctor can get a Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Device under concession for as low as 50,000 Mexican Pesos. This includes training, insurance, shipping, and access to the platform that allows them to work with referred patients.
This contract lasts for one year. During this time, the income earned from sessions will be split 50/50 by Actipulse. The specialist can then decide whether to purchase the device.
The stimulator’s operating systems are connected to a cloud-accessible platform. All devices can then be controlled via a single panel. They explain that we know the number of times the doctor has used it, and how much income they have.
According to the creators, a doctor’s average monthly bill is 60-65 thousand pesos with an EMT. Therefore, the EMT “in just two months has covered the original investment.” A psychiatrist or neurologist can only provide 8 consultations per day, and if each consultation is charged at 1,000 pesos they have a limit of 8,000 pesos. Stimulation allows them to have two patients in one office, while another patient is in an EMT room. This increases their profit margin
Actipulse now has more than 230 psychiatrists as part of a functioning device because they have adapted this business model since November 2020.
We are a medical business, and we take care of our patients’ health. Suicide is a leading cause of depression. We can save lives by treating this condition. Accessibility is key to increasing the number of patients and increasing the doctor’s profit. The French businessman said that it was a win-win situation for all.
EMT and Actipulse in fighting the Mental Health Pandemic
It is believed that more than 4,000,000 Mexicans suffer from depression. The specialist will diagnose the patient and then start a treatment plan, including medication or therapy. Adrien explained that four out of ten patients don’t respond to therapy, that there is no improvement or adverse side effects. He then suggests a second line treatment, such as noninvasive brain stimulation.
Gabriel says that depression cases doubled in some areas after the pandemic and that 90 to 95% of people seek out stimulation for anxiety or other conditions.
The rules were changed by the coronavirus. A study published in the scientific journal Lancet Psychiatry found that 34% of Covid-19 survivors develop or will develop a neurological or psychiatric disorder within six months of infection. Chatillon said that we don’t just mean Post Traumatic Stress (PST), which is caused by being hospitalized or intubated. But, a brain change takes place. “Today, there is not enough doctors or hospitals to treat depression.”
Actipulse is a promising company.
Continuous research is conducted by the company to determine whether TMS can be used in treating other conditions. It is approved for treating depression, anxiety, OCD, Parkinson’s, and smoking. However, it has been shown to be safe in the treatment of migraine, ADHD, OCD, Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative disorders.
We are very concentrated on the application of it for Alzheimer’s Disease, which is horrible, has no cure, and can be stopped only by using it. Gabriel said that a clinical trial was done at Mexico’s National Institute of Nutrition, where stimulation was used in the early stages of the disease to stop it.
Actipulse also collaborated with UNAM’s Faculty of Medicine, Biomedical Research Institute of UNAM and National Polytechnic Institute of (IPN), as well as the Universidad del Valle de Mexico and the Universidad Panamericana.
These are Adrien Chatillon and Gabriel Villafuerte, founders and entrepreneurs of Actipulse in Mexico. Actipulse.
The company currently has an active crowdfunding campaign on Republic, which is a leading platform for startup funding. The company’s goal to raise $1.2 million for the first clinical trial on depression at home, to produce a more compact and simpler device and to enter the United States by 2022 is its initial objective.
We are proud to be doing the Mexican study. Chatillon highlighted two important points.
We want to become the first home-use non-invasive neuromodulation system for treating depression. This device is unique and not available on the current market. We are currently in a race with many other companies to offer this kind of device. Large companies are coming from America and are also competing with us, even though we’re small. Mexican doctors are proud that a company founded in Mexico will bring new treatments to America.
Actipulse shareholders can also be investors with less than $ 100, they state. This is a great opportunity, considering that Republic accepts less then 5% of applicants. It is nearly exclusively US-only. Actipulse therefore appears on the listings for Mexican and Latin American businesses.
Actipulse is expected to be so successful that Randi Zuckerberg, Mark Zuckerberg’s sibling, invested in the company.
It also aims to create digital tools which can be used as a guide for home healthcare. This will allow patients to receive a holistic treatment, including monitoring their progress, goals and nutrition.
“In conclusion, the most important, and the greatest reward is knowing that you are bringing well being to people who previously couldn’t access such treatment,” states Adrien Chatillon, while Gabriel Villafuerte supports the statement.
Publié at Tue 10 August 2021, 05:17.03 +0000