Neuralink may take 10 more years to commercialize its brain-machine interface (BMI) device, estimated Kip Ludwig, the former program director of neural engineering at the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Last month, Elon Musk’s brain implant startup celebrated a significant milestone. The U.S. Federal Drug and Food Administration (FDA) approved Neuralink’s first human clinical study on May 25.
The road ahead for Neuralink is still quite long. Human trials are delicate and will require a lot of caution and care. The company still needs to open recruitment for clinical trials. It is likely narrowing down the list of requirements patients must meet to maximize success in the study before openly recruiting.
There are still some questions and complications surrounding Neuralink’s human clinical study. For instance, some entities are still concerned about Neuralink’s treatment of animal patients and the results of those trials. The company’s animal trials have concerned parties in the medical community, including the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine.
“The Physicians Committee continues to urge Elon Musk and Neuralink to shift to developing a noninvasive brain-computer interface. Researchers elsewhere have already made progress to improve patient health using such noninvasive methods, which do not come with the risk of surgical complications, infections, or additional operations to repair malfunctioning implants,” stated the Committee.
Neuralink has also developed a robot implant its BMI device into brains. The surgical robot’s capabilities will probably also be tested during human trials. Although, Neuralink has not stated whether or not it will use its surgical robot for human trials.
Despite concerns from medical professionals, however, people who could potentially benefit from Neuralink’s implant are excited about the company’s progress. At the end of the day, Neuralink’s progress brings hope to many people, which may be why it continues to gain support and push forward.
Neuralink’s shares were recently marketed to investors at $7 billion or $55 per share, according to an email seen by Reuters. Two years ago, the company was valued at $2 billion in a private fundraising round. Approval for human trials may have increased Neuralink’s worth by $5 billion. The valuation hints that some parties see Neuralink’s potential.