Unlike most university startups, Tor Emanuelsen, Mathis Rosenberg Sørensen, and Morten Kirkegaard did not really know each other. But after Morten as a student had helped publish some groundbreaking research results in a research group, AAU immediately began searching for enterprising students and alumni to match him with. The research could become a new startup with the right people at the helm, the university believed.
“In many university startups, people have done a study project or written a thesis together. But we got to know each other through SEA (Student Entrepreneurship AAU). The university had their hands on a series of interesting neurological research results and thought that there was a great potential for commercialization,” says Mathis Sørensen, COO and co-founder of REDO – Neurosystems.
Based on existing research, the three AAU-people behind REDO – Neurosystems have developed a technology that can visualize pain-related brain activity in real time. And although the breakthrough is still being tested, it bodes well for the pain patients of the future, who through physical and mental rehabilitation can learn to manage the brain activities related to the pain – and in the long run control it.
The entrepreneurs have very different backgrounds: Morten has a master’s degree in Translational Medicine and is clinically responsible in REDO, Tor has a master’s degree in Organization and Strategy and CEO and Mathis has a master’s degree in Communication and is responsible for communications. In 2020 Rasmus Lund, cand.it in Games and Interactive Media Design, joined the company and works as a CTO. A varied bunch.
“One of our strengths is definitely that we do not have internal competition. We each come with our own background and competencies, and this gives a completely natural division of responsibilities. It is to a large extent SEA’s merit that managed to bring different skillsets together in one unit,” says Mathis Rosenberg Sørensen.
The open entrepreneurial environment was the key
The research behind REDO was carried out at the Department of Medicine and Health Technology, where innovation and entrepreneurship have long been at focus point. So far, the effort has resulted in 20 spinout companies, 60 patent applications and 120 reported inventions, 25 of which have been sold. And according to the head of department, Kim Dremstrup, REDO is a product of precisely the same open environment in AAU Health Hub.
“It is important that we keep our research environments open to students and help them see the opportunities in entrepreneurship and innovation. It is in their studies and project work that the future takes shape. This is where they work with society’s health challenges and seek out possible solutions that can strengthen our public health in the long run. We strengthen all these aspects in the AAU Health Hub innovation environment,” says Kim Dremstrup.
Clinical research requires three test phases. And at the moment, REDO is in the process of reviewing the latest research study, in which a total of 30 people must go through multiple control groups before the study can be approved by the Danish Medicines Agency.
REDO expects RELEARN, as they call their form of treatment, on the market in the second half of 2022. And it will be a groundbreaking development, they expect.
“By visualizing the brain activity from a pain experience around a specific movement, it becomes easier to work with the nervous system’s reactions to what hurts and does not hurt. Our technology shows this to the patient in the same way as a heart rate monitor would show your heartbeat.”
“In the long run, we hope to be able to provide a treatment that reduces the need for medication and symptom treatment. With RELEARN, patients can work with exactly their pain challenges, and we very much hope that this will be a revolution for people who suffer from chronic pain every day, « says Mathis Rosenberg Sørensen.