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Pioneering pen

Funding boost to help detect onset of Parkinson’s disease

Billy Connolly

Sufferer: Billy Connolly

A Scottish company has closed a £1.2m funding round to develop a pioneering digital pen which acts as an early warning sign of Parkinson’s disease.

Edinburgh-based Manus Neurodynamica is rolling-out its NeuroMotor Pen later this year, initially focusing on the UK and Benelux markets, while awaiting regulatory approval to start selling in the US. 

Investors in this funding round included the North East Innovation Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund and managed by Northstar Ventures, profit with purpose investor SIS Ventures and Old College Capital, the University of Edinburgh’s venture fund.

Parkinson’s is the fastest-growing neurological condition in the world with about 145,000 people in the UK living with the condition.

Rutger Zietsma of Manus

Rutger Zietsma: ‘2021 looks set to be an extremely busy for us

The NeuroMotor Pen employs sensors linked with analytical software which analyses the slightest limb and hand movements to help doctors assess whether a patient has early signs of Parkinson’s or other neurological conditions.

As well as providing a quick, inexpensive, non-invasive and objective aid to diagnosis, the CE-marked product also helps with the ongoing monitoring of those conditions. 

The business is currently in advanced talks to supply the pens to a leading UK-based primary care group, following a development contract with NHS England to develop a version that can be used in GP surgeries.

The pen has passed clinical trials with the NHS in the north-east of England and Scotland and is currently being used by Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust.

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Led by CEO Dr Rutger Zietsma, Manus has spent more than 10 years developing the product, from concept through to manufacture and roll-out.

In January last year, the firm signed a five-year contract with stationery brand Stabilo to manufacture the pens in Germany.

Funding rounds, totalling £5m to date, including a £750,000 financing round, closed in May last year, have been led by investors Par Equity with support from the Scottish Investment Bank, the investment arm of Scottish Enterprise, and Old College Capital.

Dr Zietsma said: “2021 looks set to be an extremely busy year for Manus. Having spent more than 10 years developing, trialling and refining our first product, we can finally look forward to seeing our NeuroMotor Pens implemented more broadly and making a real difference to the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions.

“Through faster and simpler diagnoses and objective patient monitoring with digital record keeping, we can help streamline the pathway and deliver more successful treatment outcomes for the fastest growing neurological condition in the world.” 

Rob Halliday, fund manager at SIS Ventures, said: “Manus is one of Scotland’s most promising early stage medtech companies, with the potential to make a huge impact.

“With its disruptive technology, mission-led approach, and ambitious management team, Manus is exactly the kind of business we look to invest in at SIS Ventures.

“Working along with the other investors, we’re very pleased to support Rutger and his team through their next phase of growth and impact creation.”

Rick Charnley, investment manager at Northstar Ventures, said, “Having originally been involved with the company via a previous investment used to develop the initial prototype, we’ve been impressed with the team’s enhanced mission. We’re big believers in the impact Medtech companies like Manus can have on an ageing society.”



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