Cala Health Raises $77M for Bioelectronic Devices for Tremors

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by Patricia Inacio PhD |

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Cala Health has raised $77 million that will support further innovations of the company’s expertise — bioelectronic medicine — to explore conditions beyond essential tremor, including Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions.

The funding also will help expand patient access to the company’s devices, which includes Cala Trio, a wrist-worn potential treatment of action tremors in the hands of adults with Parkinson’s.

“This investment allows us to build upon our strong foundation in treating essential tremor and develop new therapies to help more patients living with chronic disease. Our team is dedicated to closing the massive gap in patient care,” Renee Ryan, CEO of Cala Health, said in a press release.

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Tremors are a common motor symptom of Parkinson’s. They can be classified into types depending on how they manifest. Action tremors are those that occur while a person is making a voluntary movement, such as writing, eating or speaking.

However, despite its impact on patients’ everyday activities, no effective treatments are available.

Cala Trio, which is worn like a watch, works by sending small electrical signals that stimulate tremor-associated nerve cells in the wrist to normalize their activity, easing hand tremors. Conceptually, its mode of action is similar to deep brain stimulation, a surgical treatment for Parkinson’s.

Cala Trio was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat essential tremor in adults’ hands. Essential tremor is characterized by Parkinson’s-like tremors, and often is misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s. However, essential tremor is not associated with Parkinson’s other motor symptoms, such as slow movement and muscle stiffness.

In Oct. 2020, the FDA named Cala Trio a breakthrough device as a potential wrist-worn treatment of action tremors in the hands of those with Parkinson’s.

This designation aims to expedite the development, assessment, and review of medical devices with the potential to more effectively treat diseases deemed life-threatening or irreversibly debilitating.

The new funding was led by Ascension Ventures, with the support of multiple new investors, including: Dolby Family Ventures; PEAK6 Strategic Capital, a division of PEAK6 Investments; and Innovatus Capital Partners.

“Cala Health is changing the standard of care by harnessing electricity as a therapy. The company is at the forefront of massive growth in bioelectronic medicine,” said John Kuelper, senior managing director and head of Healthcare Technology Investing at Ascension Ventures.

“We are honored to have Ascension Ventures join us on our journey to realize the power of bioelectronic medicine,” Ryan added.

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