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Seattle-area company aiming to treat disease with radio-frequency energy files for IPO – GeekWire

Chris Rivera, CEO of EMulate Therapeutics. (Emulate photo)

EMulate Therapeutics, a 20-year-old Bellevue, Wash.-based company that develops radiofrequency energy technology to treat a range of illnesses, filed for an IPO on Tuesday.

The 7-person company, formerly known as Nativis, offers programs for aggressive types of brain tumors, pain management, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety and depression.

The company can “specifically regulate signaling and metabolic pathways at the molecular and genetic levels — without chemicals, radiation, or drugs — delivered through an easy-to-use, noninvasive therapeutic system,” according to its IPO filing.

His therapeutic wearable device has not been approved by the FDA.

The filing reveals that the company had insufficient revenue to meet current operating expenses as of June 30 and had $15,000 in cash at the time. The company reported a net loss of $13.8 million for the six-month period ending June 30. EMulate spent $164,000 on research and development in the first half of 2022 and racked up $7.6 million in general and administrative expenses.

“With this offer, we are seeking sufficient capital to allow us to continue the technological and commercial expansion that is already well under way. We believe the proceeds from this offering will be sufficient to fund our business plan for at least the next 12 months,” the company notes in the filing.

The CEO, Chairman and President of the company is Chris Rivera. He was previously CEO of the Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association trade group, now Life Science Washington. He was also Head of Business Operations at Corixa and held a similar operational role at Genzyme. He previously founded Hyperion Therapeutics, which was acquired by Horizon Pharma in 2015.

Rivera earned a salary of $882,073 last year, according to the IPO filing.

The company has no ongoing clinical trials, but said it conducted a “compassionate use” study for people with diffuse midline glioma. Pediatric brain tumor affects approximately 100 to 300 children each year in the United States, and most patients survive less than a year. The company also conducted a small study in patients with another very deadly brain tumour, glioblastoma multiforme, and reported that it had no serious side effects.

According to the company’s website, its technology “produces a broadband multi-frequency oscillating magnetic field, with frequencies ranging from 0 kHz to approximately 22 kHz, which is obtained from recordings of selected molecules derived using its proprietary Magnetic Interrogation Device System (MIDS)”.

The technology was also described in a 2018 publication describing the results of his glioblastoma study using the company’s headband: “Molecular signals are obtained from solvated molecules using a quantum interference DC superconductor coupled to a second derivative gradiometer operating in a highly magnetically shielded environment.

Magnetic fields can have an effect on the brain, and some clinicians use a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation for conditions such as depression. But EMulate makes additional claims.

Developing a molecularly targeted drug can take hundreds of millions of dollars and years of clinical trials, but the company says its approach can target specific molecules. The company claims to have “selectively” targeted the molecule EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), a common drug target, in preclinical studies.

Outside scientists have criticized the company. Derek Lowe, longtime researcher and author of the In The Pipeline blog at Science magazine, previously told GeekWire that the company’s research left him and other members of the scientific community skeptical.

In a 2017 blog post, Lowe said, “The company’s science base tends to make your eyes roll or laugh out loud.”

EMulate has created four subsidiaries over the past year that target different health conditions, including one that aims to develop treatments for animals. He also started a consumer-focused company called Hapbee Technologies that sells a $299 wearable device that claims to help improve sleep, focus, and relaxation. EMulate owns a 25% stake in Hapbee, which is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Rivera is president of Hapbee.

EMulate’s largest shareholder is Nancy Skinner Nordhoff, a 90-year-old Seattle-area philanthropist who holds a 12.2% stake. Other shareholders include the Butters Family Revocable Trust, John and Tamera Kingman, and Bennet M. (Mike) Butters, former vice president of Signal Technology.

EMulate previously said it had raised more than $60 million from private investors.

The company competes with the Optune device, which its maker, Novocure, claims disrupts cell division using electric fields.

EMulate Therapeutics said in the filing that it had an unpaid aggregate severance package of approximately $6.3 million related to former employees and founders. We’ve reached out to the company for additional details on their business and will update when we hear more.