EMulate Therapeutics, a 20-year-old Bellevue, Wash.-based company developing radio frequency energy technology to treat a range of diseases, filed to go public Tuesday.
The 7-person company, previously known as Nativis, has programs for aggressive types of brain tumors, pain management, PTSD, ADHD, anxiety and depression.
The company can “specifically regulate signaling and metabolic pathways on the molecular and genetic levels — without chemicals, radiation or drugs — delivered via a simple-to-use non-invasive therapeutic system,” according to its IPO filing.
Its therapeutic wearable device has not been approved by the FDA.
The filing reveals that the company had insufficient revenue to meet ongoing operating expenses as of June 30, and had $15,000 of cash at the time. The company reported a net loss of $13.8 million for the six-month period ending June 30. EMulate spent $164,000 on research and development in the first half of 2022, and racked up $7.6 million in general and administrative expenses.
“With this offering, we are seeking sufficient capital to enable us to continue the technology and business expansion already well underway. We believe proceeds from this offering will be sufficient to fund our business plan for at least the next 12 months,” the company notes in the filing.
The company’s CEO, president and chairman is Chris Rivera. He was previously CEO of the trade group Washington Biotechnology and Biomedical Association, now Life Science Washington. He also was head of commercial operations at Corixa and held a similar operations role at Genzyme. He previously founded Hyperion Therapeutics, which was acquired by Horizon Pharma in 2015.
Rivera earned a salary of $882,073 last year, according to the IPO filing.
The company does not have any ongoing clinical trials but said it conducted a “compassionate use” study for people with diffuse midline glioma. The pediatric brain tumor affects about 100 to 300 children each year in the U.S. and most patients survive less than one year. The company also conducted a small study in patients with another highly deadly brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme, and reported that it had no serious side effects.
According the company’s website, its technology “produces a broadband, multifrequency oscillating magnetic field, with frequencies from 0 kHz up to roughly 22 kHz, that is obtained from recordings of selected molecules derived using its proprietary Magnetic Interrogation Device System (MIDS).”
The tech was also outlined in a 2018 publication describing the results of its glioblastoma study using the company’s headband: “Molecular signals are obtained from solvated molecules using a direct-current super-conducting quantum interference device coupled to a second derivative gradiometer operating in a highly shielded magnetic environment.”
Magnetic fields may have an effect on the brain, and some clinicians use a technique called transcranial magnetic stimulation for conditions like depression. But EMulate makes additional claims.
Developing a molecularly targeted drug can take hundreds of millions of dollars and years of clinical trials, but the company says its approach can target specific molecules. The company says it has “selectively” targeted the molecule EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor), a common drug target, in preclinical studies.
Outside scientists have criticized the company. Derek Lowe, a longtime researcher and author of the In The Pipeline blog at Science magazine, previously told GeekWire that the company’s research leaves him and others in the scientific community unconvinced.
In a 2017 blog post Lowe said: “The company’s scientific basis tends to make people roll their eyes or burst out laughing.”
EMulate established four subsidiaries over the past year that target different health conditions, including one that aims to develop treatments for animals. It also created a consumer-focused company called Hapbee Technologies that sells a $299 wearable device claiming to promote improved sleep, focus, and relaxation. EMulate has a 25% stake in Hapbee, which is publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Rivera is chairman of Hapbee.
EMulate’s largest common stock shareholder is Nancy Skinner Nordhoff, a 90-year old Seattle-area philanthropist who holds a 12.2% stake. Other shareholders include the Butters Family Revocable Trust, John and Tamera Kingman, and Bennet M. (Mike) Butters, a former VP at Signal Technology.
EMulate previously said it had raised more than $60 million from private investors.
The company competes against the Optune device, which its maker Novocure says disrupts cell division using electric fields.
EMulate Therapeutics said in the filing it has an unpaid aggregate severance amount of approximately $6.3 million related to former employees and founders. We’ve reached out to the company for additional details about its business and will update when we hear back.