Indiana’s SpeechVive Nabs $2M for Parkinson’s Speech Devices

SpeechVive, an Indianapolis startup that’s building medical devices for people with Parkinson’s disease, has received nearly $2.3 million in grant money and venture capital to design and build a method for programming its devices.

Based on 15 years of research from Purdue University professor Jessica Huber, the company has received $1.3 million from the National Institutes of Health and $975,000 from BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund II, the Purdue Foundry, and a private investor, according to a press release. The company plans to build a software platform that will allow speech pathologists to program the company’s devices remotely, helping elderly and physically impaired patients who cannot travel to the pathologists, the company says.

SpeechVive’s devices target a condition associated with Parkinson’s known as hypokinetic dysarthria, which can impair the volume, rate, and articulation of a person’s speech, according to the company. About 89 percent of Parkinson’s patients—there are 8 million worldwide and 1.5 million in the U.S., the company says—will face some sort of speech issue that SpeechVive could aid, Huber said in a press release.

The device fits into a patient’s ear like a hearing aid, and is able to elicit louder and clearer speech using the involuntary reflexes associated with the Lombard Effect, the company says. The device costs $2,495.

Founded in 2011, SpeechVive has previously received another $2.25 million from the NIH, as well as $700,000 from Indiana-based investment firm Ambassador Enterprises in 2014. It also received $1 million the Purdue Research Foundation for product development.

David Holley is Xconomy's national correspondent based in Austin, TX. You can reach him at dholley@xconomy.com Follow @xconholley

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