As we are approaching a new year, we want to share our journey from The Moment to Charco Neurotech and our overall progress since the beginning of 2020.
Building the team Charco
At the start of the year Charco Neurotech consisted of just two founders, Lucy Jung and Floyd Pierres. Charco quickly grew throughout 2020. At the beginning of this year, we met Adrien De Saint Victor, who was first engaged with the Charco team as the founder of Imperial Junior Solutions. He had impressive project management skills, and has since joined our team as a Project Manager. We met Alex Dallman-Porter at an Imperial College pitch event. In this first instant, It was clear that Alex is greatly passionate about improving the quality of lives for people with Parkinson’s. With his background in Neuroscience and Design Engineering, he soon became one of the first to join the Charco team. Around the same time Fahd AbdelJallal, an exceptional Medical Software Engineer, read about Charco in one of the Imperial College articles. Fortunately for us, he loved our mission and decided to join the team, relocating from France to the UK.
Our team continued to grow: thanks to the Santander Internship Award, we met Will Hardie-Brown, who joined us for a 4-weeks internship. His previous experiences clearly showed his interest in medtech and AI. Will also displayed a caring attitude, becoming another key member as our Technical Manager. Soon after another talent, Penny Chamberlain, who we met while working on stAPPtronics MoU agreement, joined us as a Legal Assistant.
During the second half of the year, Soha Ayaz and Archit Parhi joined Team Charco as full-time interns, adding enthusiasm and creativity to the team. During this year, we have also had the great opportunities to invite members including Mojowo Odiase, Gaby Richter, Victoria Duggan, Tom Lee, Will Harvey, and Camilla Kerbel, who all shared their valuable skills and time in helping to build Team Charco.
We have been extremely lucky in creating a team full of enthusiastic, kind-hearted and talented individuals. Although, due to COVID-19, we have not had many chances to meet each other, we have had a lot of fun during video calls and socially distanced meetings. From beginning with 2 founders, to growing to 10 team members ,supported by incredible advisors at the end of this year, we are forever grateful to those who have joined the team in this journey.
Progress with CUE1
We are committed to delivering the CUE1 to you as soon as possible, and the team have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to develop this device. There are a number of necessary steps we need to take, in order to bring you the CUE1, which can be summarised into three main areas: design, manufacturing and regulations.
Tailoring the design of the CUE1 for People with Parkinson’s has always been at the heart of our process. The team has been busy throughout the year, visiting amazing volunteers to conduct testing with the CUE1, and then using their feedback to improve the device. The incorporated feedback has ranged from adding functionality, such as with the medication alerts, to usability, such as simplifying the movement required to attach CUE1 to the body. We believe that this user-centred approach is what should always be at the forefront of the design process, to ensure optimal usability, effectiveness and safety for when the CUE1 is eventually released.
We are very excited to tell you that we have now finished designing the final iteration of the CUE1 for Parkinson’s! With only some minor tweaks and finishing touches to be made, we are ready to move forward to the next steps.
This being said, we are now about to initiate the manufacturing stage, and prepare the tools and processes for use on the manufacturing line. As there are lots of components to the product, each part will need to be made with a specific tool and process. It is essential to make sure that we choose the best options, so that the CUE1 will be made to the highest quality possible.
At the same time, we are now putting this final iteration through a number of safety tests to confirm that it fulfils medical device regulations, and to ensure that it will be safe for you to use. As you can imagine, this is a very important step. From the outset, we have designed the device to ensure that safety is at the heart of the development, and so we are confident that it will pass without a hitch. With this passed, we will be able to get the CE marking for the device, which gives us permission to place CUE1 on the UK/EU market.
Once we have optimised the tools and processes, passed all the safety tests, and dotted all the i’s and crossed the t’s, we will begin manufacturing CUE1 devices as quickly as possible to make them available for you!
All of these steps are very important to make sure your CUE1 is safe and ready to use, and as always we are trying our utmost to get CUE1 to you as soon as possible 🙂 🙂
From ‘The Moment’ to ‘Charco Neurotech’:
You might have seen us earlier at events and in the press with the name, ‘TheMoment’. This name was based on the message, ‘this is ‘TheMoment’ to bring smiles back for people with Parkinson’s’.
We truly loved the name but several people mentioned that it does not represent a medical device company. Pierre Socha, our partner at Amadues Capital, suggested rebranding to a name that better represents us as a med-tech company. Together as a team, we leaped into renaming and rebranding our company. After a lot of brainstorming and discussions, we decided to name our company as Charco, inspired by Professor Jean-Martin Charcot. In the 19th century, he was the first to discover that vibration helped with Parkinson’s symptoms. Thank you to Pierre and Cambridge Judge Business School coaches for helping us rename and rebrand our company to better represent our vision.
COVID-19 SHIELDNHS : Team Charco’s project to shield NHS
During the unprecedented times of COVID-19 pandemic, our community was seriously affected with a sudden loss of several lives, economic crisis and shortage of medical facilities.
Team Charco combines the skill sets of product designers, engineers, scientists, clinicians and project managers. As a team with a strong passion for society, we wanted to help to the best of our potential. During March-April, we were a part of the team that started the ShieldNHS initiative. We worked together with people around the Cambridge and London area to assemble and donate over 63,000 shields to frontline staff at NHS hospitals, care homes, ambulance services and GPs across the UK. The scope and pace of the project was a massive challenge, but it made our team stronger than ever.
CUE1 User Testing:
We are extremely grateful to our participants for helping us successfully complete the second round of user testing this year. We kept the COVID-19 situation in consideration and planned to conduct our testing during summer 2020 when the cases were fewer. Moreover, we carried out socially-distanced user testing and followed proper SOPs to ensure the safety of our participants.
Team Charco Neurotech would like to specially thank Ruth and Tina from Parkinson’s UK Peterborough branch. They helped us with the recruitment of user testing participants during these challenging times.
Please, keep supporting and enlightening us with your invaluable feedback, so we can continue to aid the Parkinson’s community even further. Each one of you makes a difference to our work, and holds a special place in our journey.
Our progress and awards:
Throughout this year, we have been extremely lucky to have won so much support and awards from institutions, accelerators, and community organisations. Read the following to know more about our progress and awards:
- Charco successfully graduated from pre-accelerator programme to accelerator programme at CJBS
- We were honoured to have participated in many events, including Medcity, Imperial Enterprise, Panacea, Parkython and Parkinson’s UK Peterborough
- We were also able to successfully complete our objectives of applying for Patient Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent for CUE1, and filing patent for tremor device development
- We are extremely delighted to share our awards for this year:
- Judges Choice winner (under University of Cambridge) at Santander Universities Entrepreneurship Awards
- Winners of Imperial College London and LSE virtual demo day
- Semi-finalists of the Mayor’s Annual Entrepreneurship Competition
- Winner of CUE award 2K and runner up for CUE10K
- Medtech Innovation 2020 Design Award
- Santander COVID-19 Relief Funding
End of the Year / New Year Message from Team Charco
Like most of us, Team Charco Neurotech also went through many hurdles and challenges during the year 2020. Certainly, it has been a rough year; however, with the help of our wonderful Parkinson’s community, we were able to achieve our goals in research and development of the CUE1. Regarding legal affairs, regulations, and device development, we would like to thank and appreciate the incredible and valuable support from our coaches, collaborators and partners. Team Charco Neurotech is extremely grateful to every single person involved in this journey and without your help, we wouldn’t be able to reach this stage. Despite the challenges of 2020, we were able to share moments of fun, joy and accomplishment with some exceptionally talented people who joined our team over the year.
We believe your continued support and efforts in future will help us go further in the mission of bringing smiles back for people with Parkinson’s. Please, stay safe, healthy and happy! 😊
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