Skeletal Hand

Winner- Surf Therapeutics

Congratulations to the winner of the 2023 eWEAR Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, Surf Therapeutics

Skeletal Hand

Surf Therapeutics – a spin-out of Stanford – is developing novel neuromodulatory technology for the treatment of autoimmune disorders. The first product is a non-invasive therapeutic ultrasound device to treat inflammatory disorders – like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, and Psoriatic Arthritis. It has a massive $2-4B market opportunity, targeting a disease population in which big pharma has already established a large market with drugs – such as Humira that generates $20B a year in revenue. Competition includes Setpoint Medical (pivotal stage with $200M in funding) and Galvani Bioelectronics (joint venture between GSK and Verily), however these companies are developing implantable devices that require surgery and a permanent device. We have proof of concept data in two humans and an ongoing study at Stanford (n = 24) to better characterize the effect. Please reach out if you would like to learn more.

– Nishant Doctor (CEO, Surf Therapeutics)

Unmet Need

6 million Americans are living with autoimmune disorders, such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), and Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA). A significant proportion (20-40%) of them have regular disease flares that are painful and debilitating and often lead to chronic pain and disability. There are several reasons why these people are unable to get their disease under control. It could be because they did not get a complete response with one of the leading medications (i.e. Methotrexate, TNF-a blockers, JAK inhibitors). Or it may be that they were unable to take or did not want to take these immunosuppressants due to severe adverse effects such as increased risk of cancer and infection.


A non-invasive neuromodulation device that activates the body’s innate mechanism for decreasing inflammation, called the Cholinergic Anti-Inflammatory Pathway (CAP). Twenty years of research has shown that humans have a neural pathway between their brain and their spleen that can regulate the immune system. When nerves in this pathway are stimulated, immune cells (CD8+ T cells and monocytes) are reprogrammed to release fewer pro-inflammatory cytokines. These cytokines are a critical part of the disease process in many autoimmune disorders making the CAP an exciting new target to treat these diseases. What makes this innate mechanism even more remarkable is that it doesn’t cause the same increased risk of cancer or infection as seen with current drugs.


There are two well-funded ($200+ million invested) companies that are developing invasive devices to activate the , but we believe there is a much larger market ($2-4 billion) for a non-invasive treatment that does not require surgery. 


We have tested a research device in 2 subjects and we have seen a decrease in pro-inflammatory cyrokines. We are now conducting a larger trial (n = 24) to test better characterize the effect.


$2M SAFE (simple agreement for future equity) to develop a working prototype over the next 12 months.


Nishant Doctor  CEO and co-founder, 15+ years’ experience in MedTech, previously worked at LivaNova, Medtronic and Abbott

Alex Sackeim, MD  CMO and co-founder, 10+ years’ experience in HealthTech, founder of a neurodiagnostic start-up, Stanford Emergency Medicine Physician

Kim Butts Pauly, PhD  CSO, Stanford Radiology Professor specializes in ultrasound neuromodulation (200+ publications), Chair of International Society for Therapeutic Ultrasound