Promising New Epilepsy Therapies Featured at 2012 Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference

Feb 21, 2012, 08:50 ET from Epilepsy Therapy Project

Epilepsy Therapy Project Announces "Shark Tank" Winner with Most Innovative Product

WASHINGTON, Feb. 21, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP), a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate new therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures, and the parent organization of, today released presentation highlights from its successful 2012 Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference held in San Francisco and announced the winner of its "Shark Tank" competition for the most innovative new product idea in epilepsy treatment and care.  This year's epilepsy pipeline conference featured a stellar line up of leading drug and device developers, investigators and industry leaders and showcased cutting-edge epilepsy therapies in development, including medical technology and therapeutic products.

The winner of ETP's inaugural "Shark Tank" competition is Charles Anderson of HiPass Design for his Smartphone-based Movement Detector, a life-saving seizure alarm.  Anderson's invention was inspired from a personal concern that he was unable to detect his son's seizures at night.  Anderson first devised a computer system that analyzed images from an infrared camera and detected seizure movements with few false alarms.  The prototype system, which incorporates an iPhone with camera, sounds an alarm while recording valuable video and audio information.  ETP Shark Tank judges and audience participants – representative of industry, advocacy, investors, the research and medical communities – selected this advanced seizure movement detector among the finalists as the most innovative, and for its near-term benefit for people with epilepsy.  Anderson received a $50,000 grant to support and accelerate the development and commercialization of this seizure alarm, which is expected to be available later in the year. 

The 2012 Epilepsy Therapy Pipeline Conference programs featured some of the most innovative epilepsy therapies and products in development today including:

  • Neurovista Corporation is advancing an implantable advisory system that is designed to anticipate seizure onset.  The device employs intracranial electrodes and records a continuous electroencephalogram (EEG) test to measure brain electrical activity.  Reducing the uncertainty of when a seizure may occur will be of great value to the patient, perhaps allowing pre-emptive treatments at high-risk times.  Neurovista's product is currently under clinical investigation. 
  • Visualase, Inc. has developed an FDA-cleared laser ablation system that enables minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures.  The technology produces precise thermal destruction of undesirable tissue in the brain, including epileptic foci deep in the temporal lobe, through a tiny keyhole.   Patients most often leave the hospital within 24 hours of the procedure, and the safety profile has been excellent. The technology has been successfully used in more than 120 neurosurgery procedures.  The Visualase system is now being utilized at several leading centers throughout the U.S.  The hope is that a minimally invasive approach to neurosurgery will make more patients interested in pursuing surgical options.  
  • Xeris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is using its XeriJect(TM) drug delivery platform to develop a simple, ready-to-use auto-injectable diazepam product to treat seizures, similar to the EpiPen(TM) for the treatment of severe allergic reactions.  This patient-friendly emergency-use medication would offer significant advantages over diazepam rectal gel, the current standard of care for the treatment of acute onset cluster seizures, which is complex to administer and uncomfortable for the patient.  Xeris will be conducting proof-of-concept studies for its XeriJect formulation of diazepam in 2012. 
  • Smart Monitor is pioneering the SmartWatch, a novel device that continuously monitors, detects, alerts upon and records rhythmic, repetitive convulsive movements of the limbs caused by seizures.  Designed to be worn as an everyday watch, the Smart Watch is a low cost non-invasive device that is easy to use, sounds alerts, and sends telephone and text messages, in addition to GPS location, to designated family members/caregivers.  Phase 1 clinical studies are complete at Stanford University School of Medicine and additional studies are under way at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Medical Center.  Clinical testing to date has demonstrated high specificity and sensitivity and the product has generated strong interest from patients, caregivers and neurologists.  The product has been redesigned with longer battery life, is very compact and sleek, and is compatible with the latest Android smart phones. This updated version is launch-ready and will be available for sale in March 2012.

Companies selected to present their epilepsy product and product candidate programs included NeuroAdjuvants, Inc., NeuroTherapeutics Pharma, Catalyst Pharmaceutical Partners, Inc., Concert Pharmaceuticals, NeuroGenomeX, Inc., Asklepios BioPharmaceutical, Inc., Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Electrical Geodesics, Inc., Advanced Neurometrics, Inc., SynapCell SAS, NeuroPace, Inc., Cyberonics, Inc., Medtronic Neuromodulation Research, , Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, Inc., UCB BioSciences, Inc., Lundbeck, US, Pfizer, Inc., Marinus Pharmaceuticals, Inc., SK LifeScience, Inc. and Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.    

"Through this conference and ETP's funding efforts, we are identifying, advocating for and accelerating highly competitive pipeline programs and inventive ideas through development and to the patient," said Warren Lammert, ETP Founder and Chairman.  "ETP concentrates on important new therapies with near-term potential to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy today.  We also have the unique flexibility to 'take chances' on high-risk high-gain projects, and advance the most valuable new products closer to commercialization.  ETP is proud to be a supporter of several of the novel therapies and products presented at this year's conference."

2012 ETP Lifetime Accelerator Award
Harvey Kupferberg, Ph.D., was honored at this year's pipeline conference as the recipient of the ETP Lifetime Accelerator Award in recognition of his commitment and contributions to the field of epilepsy and to the people affected by it.  Dr. Kupferberg served for many years as Chief of the Preclinical Pharmacology Section, Epilepsy Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health.  He played an essential role in the NINDS Antiepileptic Drug Development (ADD) program which conducts preclinical studies of promising new drugs for the treatment of epilepsy.  The program supports drug screening that significantly shortens industry's time for developing new antiepileptic drugs.  Dr. Kupferberg developed the program, which has screened thousands of compounds for their potential in treating seizures

About the Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference
The Third Biennial Epilepsy Pipeline Update Conference 2012 was held at the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco.  This conference has earned recognition as the leading showcase for the most promising epilepsy therapies in development from entrepreneurs, startups and established companies dedicated to pioneering and advancing drugs, biologics, technologies and devices for epilepsy.  This year's conference was expanded to three days to include the inaugural "Shark Tank" competition, and a day of public programming for people with epilepsy, family and healthcare advocates focused on the importance and challenges of developing new therapies for epilepsy and seizure conditions. 

Led by some of the nation's leading experts and advisors on, the public forum featured panels such as "New Ways of Understanding the Brain and Epilepsy" and "Epilepsy Medications and Alternative Therapies on the Horizon," as well as a discussion of "SUDEP (Sudden Unexplained Death in Epilepsy): What do We Know and What We Need to Talk About."  The program also included presentations on dietary therapies, insights from people with epilepsy, tools that can be used in managing epilepsy and more.  ETP spokespeople and special guests USA Olympic Hockey Team goaltender Chanda Gunn and L.A. celebrity turntable artist DJ Hapa inspired others with their own stories of living with epilepsy and overcoming many of the challenges.  For more information on the conference program and presentations, please visit

About the Epilepsy Therapy Project 
The Epilepsy Therapy Project is a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate ideas into therapies for people living with epilepsy and seizures.  Founded in 2002 by a group of parents, distinguished physicians, and researchers, the Epilepsy Therapy Project supports the commercialization of new therapies through direct grants and investments in promising academic and commercial projects.  For more information about epilepsy, epilepsy treatment and the epilepsy pipeline, please visit our website, or call 540.687.8077.  

SOURCE Epilepsy Therapy Project