Diagnostic Biochips is probing into the science of neurological disorders

06/03/2024| Maggie Whitescarver

Diagnostic Biochips is probing into the science of neurological disorders

06/03/2024 | Maggie Whitescarver

In Glen Burnie, a company that manufactures its own line of ultra-precise medical research equipment is helping reimagine the world of electrophysiology. Diagnostic Biochips  (DBC) was founded in 2013 with the belief that if “the science is hard, the tools shouldn’t be.”

DBC provides neural probes and cloud-based software to enable groundbreaking research and analysis of deep brain activity. With hundreds of customers globally, DBC’s devices are being used to help find therapies, and hopefully one day cures, for Parkinson’s, epilepsy, schizophrenia, depression, OCD, and more.

DBC technology

The medtech company was founded by Brian Jamieson based on his doctoral thesis on active neural probes. DBC manufactures a variety of neurological devices that can measure electrical activity in the brain, with its four categories being silicon, deep array, micro EcOG, and janus double-sided.

Each probe is created for different situations. The deep array probe is what DBC is most excited about, created with a specific plastic that is flexible enough to not break—it can go deep into the brain structures, such as the back of the brain, which is the root location of many disorders.

In addition to the probes, DBC has created a cloud-based software that has changed the way data is collected and analyzed. DBC President and CEO Greg Alden worked in the software and big data industry before joining the team in 2019 and helped take the company commercial. Alden explained that previously, much of the collection and analysis of data was manual, where scientists would only work with their own devices. This resulted in a lack of uniformity in the industry, making collaboration more difficult.

“The goal is to create an environment where researchers will collaborate and really decode information together—and do so in a repeatable way, like they did in the genome project,” said Alden. As the industry has progressed and more data has become available, the need for cloud-based software that can house terabytes of data has become more apparent.

DBC is keeping up with ever-evolving technology applications, too. Artificial intelligence is being widely used across the neurospace since the volume of data being collected is so massive. “To train models with so much data, you need AI and machine learning. The technology is used to take baseline functional data and scale it up to run a complex data analysis with much quicker results,” said Alden. He likened the connections of neurons to the connections on social media. The person being connected to thousands of other friends and generating traffic at such a high rate is similar to what needs to happen in the neurological domain where the technology can analyze the thousands of connections.

DBC open source data screens with neural activity

Maryland’s talent pool is helping contribute to the company’s success. More than half of its employees are engineering graduates from the University of Maryland. Alden explained how its Glen Burnie location has been ideal, not being far from BWI and only a short drive to Downtown Baltimore. “Maryland has been great in offering support. The Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation has been in to visit and is always trying to help,” said Alden. The Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO) was also an investor in DBC during its early stages.

DBC believes its products will help make a big impact on the industry in the future. The company’s customers are doing impressive research with the tools manufactured by DBC, but much of the information stays quiet until findings are published. One area of interest is the science of organoids, 3D cell structures based on a person’s own stem cells, which can grow structures like a heart, liver, or brain. Alden explained that working with organoids could improve data translation, which could lead to testing therapies and interventions on a person’s own cells to see how the body would react.

DBC is manufacturing important products in the hopes that breakthroughs will be made. With more than 1 in 3 people  affected by neurological conditions, innovation in this industry is important on every level.

“There’s plenty of room for many companies to be successful. The more people that participate in it, the better,” said Alden. “This is the golden age of neuro right now and we’re smack dab in the middle of it.”

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