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Empower Therapeutics Inc. Granted Exclusive License to Develop Digital Therapeutics Platform for Neuromodulation of Pain Sensitivity

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Technology developed by scientists at the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Birmingham, U.K.

BALTIMORE, Aug. 19, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Empower Therapeutics Inc., a Baltimore-based startup, has secured worldwide, exclusive rights to a simple, reliable brainwave biomarker for pain sensitivity. Empower plans to leverage the technology, which is jointly owned by the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) and the University of Birmingham, U.K., to develop a cutting-edge digital therapeutics platform to determine and modify pain sensitivity for chronic pain therapy.   

The technology, which analyzes brain waves using EEG to determine an individual's sensitivity to pain, was developed by Andrew Furman, an Empower Therapeutics co-founder and UMB graduate student, along with his team of advisors, including Dave Seminowicz, Ph.D., of UMB and Ali Mazaheri, Ph.D., of the University of Birmingham. Identifying a biomarker for pain sensitivity enables targeting of therapies to reverse the underlying changes in the central nervous system.

Steven Rothenberg, M.D., CEO and co-founder of Empower Therapeutics, said, "Chronic pain is difficult to treat and its development often does not correlate with an anatomic cause or injury load. By building a digital therapeutics platform for neuromodulation of pain sensitivity, we can leverage this biomarker to objectively repair the mind-body connection for a variety of pain conditions."

Over the past five years, Dr. Seminowicz's lab discovered and validated a simple, portable, and non-invasive method for determining an individual's pain sensitivity using EEG. The initial proof-of-concept was established in a capsaicin-induced thermal pain study. Researchers then validated the approach in a long-lasting tennis elbow pain study using different equipment, and a longitudinal study verified biomarker stability by repeating the experiment with the same participants at multiple time points. Together, these studies verified this method as a reliable biomarker that identifies an individual's sensitivity to pain.  

"It's always exciting to see novel technologies like these move from the university into the private sector," said Phil Robilotto, D.O., Director of UM Ventures. "Empower Therapeutics is a great partner for commercialization and we're excited for the important work of Dr. Seminowicz and his team to have the opportunity to reach its full potential."

About Empower Therapeutics Inc.
Empower Therapeutics Inc. is a Baltimore-based University of Maryland, Baltimore and University of Birmingham spin out company commercializing a simple, reliable EEG-based biomarker for pain sensitivity. Services are only available for research purposes. Products are not currently available for commercial use and not indented to diagnose or treat any specific medical condition.

About the University of Maryland, Baltimore and UM Ventures
The University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) is a fast-growing biomedical research center with nationally ranked professional schools of dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy, social work, and an interdisciplinary graduate school. UM Ventures commercializes UMB's breakthrough therapies, diagnostics and devices, fuels the creation of innovative start-up companies, and attracts industry leaders and entrepreneurs to the University's thriving downtown campus. A wide portfolio of technologies is available for licensing at

About the University of Birmingham and University of Birmingham Enterprise
The University of Birmingham, U.K., is ranked amongst the world's top 100 institutions, and its work brings people from across the world to Birmingham, including researchers and teachers and more than 6,500 international students from nearly 150 countries. University of Birmingham Enterprise helps researchers turn their ideas into new services, products and enterprises that meet real-world needs.  We also support innovators and entrepreneurs with mentoring, advice, and training and manage the University's Academic Consultancy Service. Our portfolio of technologies available for licensing can be viewed at

SOURCE University of Maryland Ventures