Cala Health gets $18M for tremor-treating wearable

By Jonah Comstock
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Cala Health, a stealthy startup out of Stanford University has raised $18 million according to an SEC filing. MedCityNews first spotted the story. Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation, Lux Capital and Lightstone Ventures all contributed to the round.

Cala Health hasn't sought much press and declined to comment to MobiHealthNews. But the SEC document reveals that the company was previously known as Resido Medical, which won several competitions in 2013 with a wearable device that treats hand or wrist tremors. At the time, the device was already in clinical trials.

Although the competition write-ups aren’t specific about how the technology works, one does say that it combines a watch-like device with an implantable sensor in the brain to help manage tremors, and several suggest that it treats Essential Tremor without interfering with users’ daily life.

A 2014 patent application has more information, suggesting that the device uses electrical impulses to stimulate the nerves. 

“The present invention is a novel peripheral stimulation device to send signals along the sensory nerves to the central nervous system in order to modify the abnormal network dynamics,” the filing says. “Over time, this stimulation normalizes the neural firing in the abnormal network and reduces tremor.”

The company also owns the trademark for “Cala Wave,” described as “portable medical devices with sensors to monitor the physical movement of a patient wearing or carrying the device”. Wave may end up being the product's name if it manages to commercially launch.

Interestingly, CEO Kate Rosenbluth also holds two more recent patents dealing with -- not ET -- but sleep apnea. The patents, for a monitoring device, may or may not be related to Cala Health.

Digital health efforts around tremors have been few, but high profile — one of Google’s only digital health acquisitions was Lift Labs, which makes smart silverware that cancels out the effects of tremor. That acquisition is now a part of Verily.