Elon Musk and Neuralink Held Talks with Brain Chip Startup Synchron for Deal: Report

Elon Musk has offered to invest in Synchron, a brain chip implant developer that recently beat Musk’s Neuralink to human trials in the U.S. — reports Reuters.

According to the publication’s sources, Musk has approached Synchron founder and CEO Thomas Oxley about a potential investment in the Neuralink competitor. Whether Musk simply wants to invest in Synchron, go for collaboration between Synchron and Neuralink, or acquire the company outright isn’t clear.

The move comes after Musk expressed his frustrations over Neuralink’s slow progress to employees, four current and former workers said.

Founded in 2016, Synchron has developed a brain implant that would allow humans to interface with digital devices. Unlike Neuralink’s device, Synchron’s would not require cutting in to the skull for installation. The company’s goal is to help paralyzed patients operate digital devices using just their minds.

Synchron has raised roughly $65 million USD from investors. Former Neuralink president Max Hodak is also one of Synchron’s backers. Neuralink, meanwhile, has raised $363 million in funding rounds so far. It is also backed by Musk and his Tesla riches.

Synchron last month beat Neuralink to the punch when it implanted its device in a patient in the U.S. for the first time. The company received FDA approval for human trials last year, and it has also completed studies on four people in Australia.

Neuralink, meanwhile, has faced delay after delay in getting to the human trials stage. The status of the Musk-led venture’s FDA approval remains unknown, despite a report from earlier this year indicating that Neuralink was nearing human trials for its brain implants.

Neither Musk nor Neuralink responded to requests for comment. A Synchron spokesperson declined to comment on the matter.