Neuroscience is now moving from a science to an industry. What we’re really looking at is an evolution: researchers are now going beyond basic science and developing more effective therapeutics for brain-related illnesses.
The need is huge. One in four people worldwide suffer from a brain-related illness, which costs a trillion dollars a year in indirect and direct economic costs. We all know someone who is affected. That burden will continue to grow with the aging population. We have more people, and more people living longer — it’s a multiplier effect.
Lynch sees the biggest opportunity as being in neurostimulator applications to treat a variety of conditions. While advances in this area will depend on developing better electrodes, he sees noninvasive devices that can target very specific areas of the brain as being serious competition for drug therapy. His firm released a report last month which said that 450 firms participate in the neurotechnology market, producing revenues of $110 billion in 2005. The vast majority of that sum was generated by the pharmaceutical industry – sales of neuropharmaceuticals totaled $93 billion according to the report.