Elon Musk’s Neuralink Pursues Major Neurosurgery Center for Human Trials: Report

Photo: Neuralink

According to Reuters, sources have disclosed that Elon Musk’s brain implant company, Neuralink, is seeking a potential clinical trials partner to test its devices on humans, pending regulatory approval.

Neuralink has been developing brain implants since 2016 with the hope of eventually curing conditions such as paralysis and blindness. However, the company faced a setback in early 2022 when the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rejected its application for human trials, citing significant safety concerns.

According to the unnamed sources, Neuralink has approached the Barrow Neurological Institute, a Phoenix, Arizona-based neurological disease treatment and research organization, to help conduct human trials.

While the talks may not result in a partnership, Neuralink has also discussed collaborations with other centers. The current status of these negotiations remains unverified, and Neuralink representatives have not commented on the matter.

Reuters’ sources also highlighted that Neuralink is facing two known federal probes into its practices. The US Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General is investigating potential animal-welfare violations, while the US Department of Transportation is examining the possible mishandling of hazardous pathogens during the company’s partnership with the University of California, Davis for animal trials between 2018 and 2020.

Despite these challenges, Neuralink remains determined to advance its brain computer interface (BCI) technology. Elon Musk envisions the company’s brain implants becoming as widespread as Lasik eye surgery. However, to date, no company has received US approval to bring a BCI implant to the market.

Back in December 2022, Musk said that human trials would begin “in about six months” and it remains clear if this will be approved by regulators, and how this would happen.