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BioDirection Scoops Up $4M for 90-Second Diagnostic of Concussions

Xconomy Boston — 

Whether it’s from advocates shining a spotlight on the underlying dangers of concussions or actors bringing to life the inherent drama of the subject, the foreboding impact of concussions has been top of mind for the last couple of years.

That’s what makes new funding for a medical device being developed by Boston-based BioDirection so timely. The company says it is creating a tool called Tbit (which stands for traumatic brain injury test) that, if all goes according to plan, would be able to aid in the diagnosis of concussions and other brain injuries in less than 90 seconds.

BioDirection announced today that it has closed a $4 million Series B round to bring its product into the final stages of development and to commercialize the tool. Tbit is a blood test that uses a nanotechnology biosensor to detect and measure protein biomarkers that are released from the brain after a person’s head has experienced some sort of trauma.

The device is portable, so it can be used during the “earliest stages of diagnosis and intervention,” the company wrote in a prepared statement. That may allow for more rapid and appropriate treatments of concussions, the company said.

BioDirection has raised $10 million to date. The company only named one investor, Provident Healthcare Capital, in the new funding round.

The long-term impact that concussions have on people became a particularly hot topic after stories surfaced about the tragic troubles former football players faced later in life. That has resulted in a lawsuit and settlement between the NFL and some of its former players.

BioDirection is joining a host of companies, researchers, and athletes who are seeking methods of preventing concussions or, at least, lessening their impact. In December, Xconomy’s Jeff Buchanan detailed various groups, including Wisconsin’s Whitcomb Technologies, working on innovative improvements to the equipment and tools used in sports.

In Detroit, Xconomy’s Sarah Schmid reported in September that equipment maker Xenith’s EPIC helmet received top marks in lab testing by the NFL.

There’s plenty of research going on in Texas, too. Houston-based educator David Eagleman discussed his company BrainCheck, which offers a cognitive screening app designed to better detect concussions, with Xconomy’s Angela Shah in October. And in San Antonio, researchers at Astrocyte Pharmaceuticals are developing a drug they hope will help protect brain cells left at risk after a stroke or other blunt trauma.

As for BioDirection, it says the new $4 million will help it finish its clinical research and advance to the final stages of FDA regulatory review.