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The former president of Elon Musk’s Neuralink has invested in the rival company that beat it to human trials

Elon Musk, cofounder of Neuralink.

Patrick Pleul/picture alliance via Getty Images

  • Ex-president of Neuralink, Max Hodak, said Friday he’s invested in rival biotech company Synchron.
  • Synchron announced it had got permission from the FDA to begin human testing in July 2021.
  • Hodak told Bloomberg he didn’t want his investment to be seen as a “knock” against Neuralink.

Max Hodak, cofounder and former president of Elon Musk’s biotech company Neuralink, wrote in a blog post Friday that he’s invested in a direct rival.

Neuralink is working on a device that it wants to embed in people’s brains to monitor and potentially stimulate brain activity. The device comprises a microchip and wires that would be threaded through a patient’s skull into the outer layer of the brain.

The company has yet to begin human testing.

Meanwhile, rival firm Synchron is also developing a neural interface device but, rather than being implanted inside the skull, it accesses the brain through blood vessels. In his blog post, Hodak called this an “elegant idea” and said he has been serving as an advisor to Synchron.

Synchron announced in July 2021 it had got the green light from the Food and Drug Administration to begin human trials for its device. It announced in December that one of its human test patients, a man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – a neurodegenerative disease also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – had used the device implanted in his brain to send a Tweet that said: “Hello World.”

Hodak did not say how much money he’d invested in Synchron.

“I really don’t want this to be construed as a knock on Neuralink,” Hodak, who departed Neuralink in April 2021, told Bloomberg in an email.

“I’m sure they will also get into humans soon too,” Hodak told Bloomberg, adding he has not sold any of his stock in Neuralink.

Hodak did not immediately respond when contacted by Insider outside of normal working hours.

Neural interface technology has potential medical applications such as allowing paralyzed people to operate prostheses and devices with their minds, as well as studying and treating neurological conditions.

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