An innovation platform sponsored by the Novo Nordisk Foundation
Nexus Headband – Rigshospitalet

The Nexus Headband

Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects over 300,000 people in Denmark each year, corresponding to about 10% of the population. Current first-line treatments, which include psychopharmacology and psychotherapeutics, are only effective for one-third of patients. 

Furthermore, 60% of patients report at least 10 adverse effects related to pharmacological treatment while 50% of patients relapse after their first depressive episode – and the risk increases with every subsequent episode.

The Inspiration Behind the Innovation

Advances in neuroimaging and neuromodulation technology have fundamentally changed our understanding of depression and other brain disorders. It's now possible to restore healthy neural activity and relieve symptoms of depression by stimulating activity in dysfunctional brain networks. This is creating a demand for effective second-line neuromodulation treatments, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

From a patient and clinical perspective, TMS is an improvement over electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). However, both treatments must be performed in a hospital setting and require multiple weekly visits over a 4–6 week period. The length of treatment is a barrier for some patients while in-patient psychiatric treatment still has a number of stigmas associated with it.

The reported response rate for standard TMS is 45–60%, with remission rates of 30–40%. The treatment paradigm is steadily gaining traction, and the treatment protocols and effects are being improved using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology. However, the necessary equipment is expensive, difficult to operate, and confined to an in-hospital setting – this makes the treatment less accessible to patients.

The Innovation 

This project aims to bring effective and scalable neuromodulation therapies and objective health biomarkers to patients and clinicians.

The Nexus headband is a medical device that monitors and stimulates activity in depression-related brain networks. The headband delivers safe, non-invasive magnetic brain stimulation; and monitors the patient’s brain activity using wearable sensors and AI to personalise therapy and provide reliable brain-health biomarkers.

Nexus is designed for take-home use, so patients can undergo therapy in the comfort of their own homes while clinicians can monitor health biomarkers and adjust therapy to improve treatment outcomes remotely.

The headband is based on clinical research from a variety of research labs around the world. It's currently being validated in a clinical setting at Rigshospitalet. The goal is to provide time-effective and accurate diagnostics as well as targeted and fast-acting treatments with fewer side effects, helping patients retain their autonomy and providing personalised care at scale.

The Team

Tejs Jansen: MD, PhD; Department of Neurointensive Care, Copenhagen University Hospital – Rigshospitalet

Mark Yousef: CEO; Insai ApS