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Elon Musk’s brain implant startup Neuralink quietly raises $43 million | TechCrunch


neural connectionsThe company founded by Elon Musk to develop implantable chips that can read brain waves has raised $43 million in additional venture capital. Archive and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Documents released this week show the company increased its previous investment led by Peter Thiel Founders Fund from $280 million to $323 million in early August. A total of 32 investors participated, documents show.

Neuralink has not recently disclosed its valuation.But in June, Reuters report The company was valued at approximately $5 billion in privately executed stock transactions.

Founded in 2016, Neuralink has designed a sewing machine-like device that can implant ultra-thin threads into the brain. The wires connect to a custom-designed chip that contains electrodes that can read information about groups of neurons.

Brain-reading implants are a decades-old technology, but Neuralink’s ostensible innovation is making the implants wireless and increasing the number of implanted electrodes.

In May of this year, Neuralink received FDA approval for human clinical trials after its application was rejected, and opened its first human trial under the FDA’s investigational device exemption.

But Neuralink has come under increasing scrutiny for what critics say is a toxic workplace culture and unethical research practices.

In January 2022 article Speaking to Fortune, anonymous former employees described a “culture of blame and fear” in which Musk undermined management by often encouraging junior employees to “email him directly with questions and complaints.” .As of August 2020, only three of the eight founding scientists remained at the company, and the results are statistical news piece Described as “an internal conflict between a rushed schedule… and the slow, incremental pace of science.”

In 2022, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) alleged that Neuralink and one-time research partner the University of California, Davis, abused several monkeys involved in testing Neuralink hardware, causing them to suffer psychological distress and chronic infections as a result of the surgery. Reuters and wired It’s suggested the testing was rushed due to Musk’s demand for quick results, which led to complications with the electrode installation – including partial paralysis and brain swelling.

For nearly a year, Neuralink has been under federal investigation by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for animal welfare violations. The USDA ultimately concluded that, aside from a previous self-discovery, there was “no evidence” of animal welfare violations during the startup’s trials. The incident was reported in 2019, but the PCRM disputed the findings.

In November 2023, U.S. lawmakers asked the SEC to investigate Neuralink because it omitted details of the deaths of at least a dozen animals that had implants surgically installed.



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