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April 28, 2021

MedRhythms to test digital therapy for acute stroke, add hires

Owen McCarthy and Brian Harris in the MedRhythms office. File Photo/Tim Greenway MedRhythm co-founders Owen McCarthy, left, and Brian Harris were honored on the Mainebiz Next List in 2018.

MedRhythms, a Portland-based digital health startup that uses sensors, software and music to help restore function lost to neurologic disease or injury, on Wednesday announced the launch of a clinical trial related to acute stroke.

The trial will be in partnership with UMass Memorial Healthcare and will examine the effect of a solution developed by the company on walking by patients with acute stroke. 

Wednesday's announcement comes as MedRhythms prepares to launch a trial in collaboration with Boston University related to Parkinson's disease in the next few weeks, and amid an ongoing pivotal trial related to chronic stroke that has been expanded to eight trial sites.

"The trial that was announced previously, was focused on those in the chronic phase of stroke, which is typically defined as six months post-stroke," Brian Harris, CEO and co-founder of MedRhythms, told Mainebiz. "This trial in acute stroke is focused on those who have more recently had a stroke," meaning within a few days.

This trial, funded by the University of Massachusetts, will be led by Dr. Brian Silver, interim neurology department chair and study the efficacy of MR-010, MedRhythms's acute stroke solution.

If it succeeds, it has huge potential for the estimated 800,000 people in the United States who suffer a stroke annually, 80% of whom experience trouble walking. 

“Given the prevalence and profound impact of walking deficits on stroke survivors, we are excited to be a part of investigating a promising new intervention in the acute stroke setting that could change the trajectory of rehabilitation for stroke patients,” Silver said in Wednesday's release.

“We are honored to be collaborating with the nation’s leading researchers and institutions to build the evidence necessary to bring important care to all those who need it,” added Harris. “Strokes have devastating effects on mobility, which significantly impacts independence and quality of life. We look forward to making a positive impact on these patients throughout their entire recovery journey.”

Mainebiz honored Harris and MedRhythms President Owen McCarthy on its Next list in 2018.

The company, which is backed by angel investors, strategic investors and venture capital firms, was launched out of Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston in 2015 and moved to Portland in 2016. 

Harris, a certified music therapist, told Mainebiz in 2018 that "the future of health care is in digital therapeutics."

The company currently has 17 full-time employees and plans to add a number of hires across the organization in the coming months, Harris told Mainebiz.

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