An Imperial spin-off company behind a digital therapy and rehabilitation platform has secured $11 million in investment funding.
GripAble, formed by researchers from Imperial College London and clinicians from Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, is a digital assessment and training platform that supports people in rehabilitation for neurological and musculoskeletal disorders. With a focus on hand and arm function, rehabilitation programs are delivered through interactive mobile technologies that have been designed to motivate, track progress and provide real-time biofeedback.
Over five million people in the UK live with arm weakness due to, for example, stroke. The only intervention demonstrated to improve arm function is repetitive, task-specific exercise. However, this has been limited by cost, access and availability of occupational therapists and physiotherapists.
Clinical trials have shown that Gripable’s platform can increase the amount of arm exercises stroke patients perform without professional supervision. Now, with $11 million in new funding led by the IP Group, with equal investment from Parkwalk Advisors, the GripAble team can advance its mission to develop and scale care approaches that are accessible to all, delivering volumes high levels of effective and personalized therapy from the hospital to the home.
The company was established at Imperial in 2016 as a collaboration between the groups of Dr Paul Bentley, Clinical Director of Imperial College’s Rehabilitation Technology Network of Excellence, and Professor Etienne Burdet of the Department of Bioengineering at Imperial. The goal was to help patients with arm weakness achieve the number of repetitive movements needed for true rehabilitation.
Benefits for patients
Professor Burdet commented: “While rehabilitation robotics has been confined to (usually high-end) hospitals, GripAble’s ubiquitous technology promises a revolution in rehabilitation, supporting diagnosis and patient education in decentralized centers. and at home. This, in turn, will facilitate the creation of patient-specific treatments that, through mobile technology and artificial intelligence, will adapt as the patient improves.
In just over five years, GripAble has grown from a laboratory design concept to an actual therapeutic treatment used in hundreds of centers worldwide Dr. Paul Bentley Clinical Director of the Rehabilitation Technology Network of Excellence Imperial College
Dr. Bentley added: “In just over five years, GripAble has evolved from a laboratory design concept to a true therapeutic treatment used in hundreds of centers around the world. It is a model of translational research made possible by interdisciplinary collaborations between engineering and medicine; highly motivated junior researchers (who now run the company); and with seed funding from Imperial College, the Sir Leon Bagrit Memorial Trust and the Imperial Enterprise Division. This new funding will allow GripAble to expand its reach so that more people can access and benefit from this technology.
Martin Glen, Chief Investment Officer at Parkwalk Advisors, said, “Parkwalk is delighted to support this groundbreaking digital rehabilitation technology as it expands and enters new markets. In particular, we hope that GripAble can replicate its strong initial success in the UK in the much larger US market. This would allow many more patients access to the sustained level of rehabilitative therapy they need for a positive outcome after an injury.
GripAble was one of the first investments in the Imperial College Innovation Fund (ICIF) managed by Parkwalk and is the third ICIF company to go on to raise a subsequent substantial round (Charco, Bonnet and GripAble). It is a reflection of Imperial College London’s research strength in STEM subjects that this groundbreaking technology has emerged from its laboratories.
With over 8,000 people having already used the platform, GripAble has established itself as a leading technology in the field of remote rehabilitation in the UK, recording 100,000 activity sessions and 27 million repetitions of movements in its users.