Article first published in Forbes Monaco July 2022/ August 22.
The first cloud-based platform and software for rapid and affordable brain imaging data processing can detect signs of anxiety, autism, depression and sleep deprivation in six minutes. No training required.
For Antony Branco Lopes, scientific research and entrepreneurship are similar. “You need to be highly autonomous, resourceful and resilient,” says the CEO of Spectre Biotech. “Finding your subjects is as hard as finding customers. And getting funds is even more difficult.”
In June 2020, the 32-year-old cofounded Spectre Biotech with fellow researcher and neuropsychologist Professor Arnaud Saj. The pair have developed a platform for automated and digitalized processing of brain imaging (in particular electroencephalography) and can diagnose concussions in just four minutes.
The cloud-based technology reduces the generation time of brain imaging reports from three months to one day and slashes the cost 90% from €150 to €15, without any required training. “Our goal is that all mental health professionals can finally look at the organ they treat—the brain,” says Branco Lopes, who speaks French, English and Portuguese.
There are three applications: diagnostic support, prevention and rehabilitation. “We want to democratize brain imaging,” the Parisian insists. “With a 15% monthly growth of utilizations with our solution, we reached 800 brain imaging reports since February. At this rate, we expect a revenue of $350,000 this year, then $800,000 and $1.8 million in three years.”
Their clients range from health and performance centers to mental health prevention companies and sport teams, who can use the helmet as a tool to increase the cognitive ability of athletes and drivers by measuring brain activity like attention, working memory and peripheral vision.
With eight employees, the startup partnered last year with Fabrice Marquet and Brian Frederiksen at Monaco Foundry, and has signed with the FFSA (French Federation of Automotive Sport) and 50 rehabilitation centers across France with EPNAK, a public institution that helps disabled people live autonomously.
An eight-month clinical trial last year in a medical-psychiatric center led to Spectre Biotech’s customer validation and product- market fit. Clients reported a reduction in diagnosis time of up to 30% with shorter treatments as well as a considerable decrease of anxiety in patients, who “can finally put numbers and words to what is happening in their brain.”
“Everyone should have access to a straightforward and affordable brain check,” explains Branco Lopes, who was at Monaco’s Club 39 giving demonstrations of the Spectre helmet. “Being able to detect, prevent and monitor mental health disorders systematically, just like a PCR testing to detect Covid, is a gamechanger. For schoolchildren, students, workers, patients...we can finally look at the source of the problem—the brain.
“We want people to talk about their annual Spectre—aka getting a brain check.”