Swedish-Irish start-up backed by EU to continue its spinal surgery research

14 Oct 2021

Image: © natali_mis/Stock.adobe.com

Intelligent Implants, which has offices in Cork as well as in Sweden and the US, was awarded €4.5m in funding from the EIC accelerator.

Digital health start-up Intelligent Implants has secured €4.5m blended funding from the EU, which it plans to use to further its research into spinal fusion surgery.

The funds were awarded to the Swedish-Irish company by the European Innovation Council (EIC) accelerator fund.

Intelligent Implants specialises in orthopaedics. It is conducting clinical pilot trials with its SmartFuse technology, which the funding will go towards completing.

SmartFuse is a wirelessly enabled orthopaedics platform that has been designed to remotely stimulate, control and monitor bone growth. Its also aims to provide healthcare professionals with a way of monitoring patients’ recovery progress.

Spinal fusion surgery is currently an extremely costly and risky procedure due to its invasiveness. However, it is still a necessary treatment for many people suffering with conditions such as chronic back pain.

The failure rate for spinal fusion surgery is still relatively high and it can lead to devastating complications, including impaired quality of life, overexposure to radiation, expensive revision surgeries with poor outcomes and long hospital stays.

John Zellmer, CEO and co-founder of Intelligent Implants said he was excited to be one of two Swedish companies to receive the prestigious and competitive EIC accelerator funding.

He added that the funding, as well as the company’s previous Breakthrough Device Designation from the US Food and Drug Administration endorsed “the large unmet clinical need and the disruptive potential” within the company’s approach.

Intelligent Implants has offices in Cork, Gothenburg in Sweden and Houston in the US. The company is backed by Sean O’Sullivan’s SOSV.

It is not the only start-up with Irish connections to have been recognised by the EIC recently. Five Enterprise Ireland-backed start-ups, mostly operating in the medtech space also, were selected to receive funding from the EIC’s accelerator programme.

AVeta Medical, Akara Robotics, CrannMed, Contego Sports and ProVerum were all selected by the EIC, which aims to support SMEs and start-ups with innovative ideas. The fund was launched earlier this year.

Disclosure: SOSV is an investor in Silicon Republic.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic