Geoffrey Allott (CEO, Threshold NeuroDiagnostics)

Geoffrey Allott, B.A., CNIM, is a forward-thinking, results-orientated leader with two decades of neuromodulation experience. He is the founder and CEO of Threshold NeuroDiagnostics, the developer of the Medusa Electrode, the first manufactured device to bridge neuromodulation electrodes with neurodiagnostic equipment and complex algorithms. Allott’s expertise includes market deployment of an essential tool for human biomarker mining and developing new closed-loop methodologies. 

Image: Geoffrey Allott
Image: Geoffrey Allott

Can you explain your job to a five-year-old? 

We have a device that allows for biomarker mining in humans. There are people who receive neuromodulation devices that are a lot like a pacemaker. And we're using those devices to treat neurological problems.

What excites you most about your job?

The most exciting thing is we've come into this age of what we call closed loop neuromodulation. We're able to sense signals and then change how those signals are.

It's an electrical medicine, if you will. Because of electrical medicine, basically, we're going to be able to cure a lot of different problems that people don't get treatment for.

Which trend will change the future of medicine? 

I heard Kelly Foote—he's a big guy in the DBS world—say electrophysiological biomarker mining is going to dominate neuroscience for the next 10 years. And that's where we're moving. That's the next innovation: Can we really tap the entire neural connectome to really start to treat things? And in one sense, it's very complicated, but when you compare it to genetics and all the protein waterfalls that happen and the cascades, it's the simplest way to treat things. 

Looking back, which trends have you missed or underestimated? 

It's interesting because our technology is based on a connector cable. My biggest mistake was I was so focused on my results that I never paid enough attention to my methods. 

When I got into this world, I read a journal article, and it gave me some ideas. It said, ‘Oh, you need to make an adapter cable and you can do these things. And here's the wonderful science over here.’ And so you go out and you make an adapter cable, but you don't realize that that method is used by a lot of other people who just say “adapter cable.”  And that was one of the hidden secrets that I didn't realize for 13 years of remaking this cable over and over and over and over again. And finally, I was in the elevator one day and I was like, “I've been making this cable for 13 years. There's got to be somebody else out there who needs this thing. And there are probably other people I should look to.” And that's where the whole thing came about.  

Which MedTech initiative or startup deserves more attention? 

There are a lot of startups right now in this kind of field and certainly, Neuralink and Synchron and all these neural interface companies that get so much publicity deserve attention. But it's also bringing focus to the field, and that's what I really appreciate about their work more than the leaps and bounds they’re making. It's really bringing a lot of focus into the neural interface, bioelectric medicine field, and that's really helpful because the public's getting educated through them that this technology actually exists, and that's what I'm really thankful for.

Where would you put a million dollars? 

Really, what we need to be doing in the bioelectric neuromodulation field is we need to pivot the devices that we already have so that we can tap into these underserved markets. One of the big barriers to neuromodulation is you have to have a really big market to make it financially viable to make these devices. And so if we can take what we already have and pivot it towards a smaller market, it diversifies the portfolio so that it makes it a better deal for the manufacturers, but you're also getting to populations that just don't have any available treatments.

I think that's really gonna help the field in general. Because it helps patients, it helps doctors with solutions for their patients, and it helps the manufacturers by diversifying their portfolios. We just need to take these devices and apply them in a bunch of different ways.

What's the best advice you've ever received? 

The best advice I've received is it's difficult doing this work, and a lot of people doubt you, especially when you have a device that's basically a wire and you’ve said, ‘Hey, this is the biggest doorway to neural interface there is.’ That sounds incredibly strange, right? Especially when you compare it to Elon spending, half a billion dollars on a Neuralink system. You have to keep working at it because, if it were easy, everybody would have done it by now. 

And even though people are going to doubt you, you have to keep going because you have to make sure that it really does or doesn't work. You can't just stop because people are saying, ‘I don't get it.’ Or ‘I think that it's already been done,’ It really hasn't been done the way we're doing it. Otherwise, we wouldn't have customers. 

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