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Head Impact-Monitoring Mouthguard Maker Prevent Biometrics Buys X2 Biosystems Technology

Both companies monitor head impacts using a similar approach: by having athletes outfitted with a device capable of sharing the data from every hit or tackle.

Head Impact-Monitoring Mouthguard Maker Prevent Biometrics Buys X2 Biosystems Technology
The full-suite Prevent Biometrics system.

Prevent Biometrics, the Edina startup making data-gathering mouthguards for contact sports, has purchased technology assets of X2 Biosystems, a fellow impact monitoring technology company out of Seattle.

Transaction details were not disclosed in Prevent Biometrics' release on Monday afternoon.

With the technology assets it's acquiring of X2, Prevent Biometrics will hold nine U.S. patents and a dozen international patents related to measuring and displaying head impacts for coaches, doctors and parents. Both companies have been developing an interface for its users to measure head impacts on the field through products worn by athletes.

Research suggests as many as half of sports-related concussions go undetected and undiagnosed. The ultimate goal of both Prevent Biometrics and X2 have been to give teams and parents the ability to make objective, data-informed decisions about removing athletes for a concussion assessment.

Prevent Biometrics does this through its patented mouthguard, which has built-in sensors capable of tracking the location, speed and direction of an impact. The data behind each impact is wirelessly sent to the company’s app in real-time.

After conducting a roughly year-long beta test of its mouthguard and app, Prevent Biometrics made its system commercially available to select schools and youth associations at the start of the 2018 football season. The markets trialing the company’s products were split into four regions: Connecticut/Massachusetts; Minnesota/Wisconsin, and then individually Texas and Colorado. Earlier this year, the NFL also began its own tests on Prevent Biometrics’ mouthguard and app. The cost of its mouthguard starts at $99.

Likewise, X2 collects head impact data using a patch-based system, known as the X-Patch. Similar to a band-aid, the X-Patch can be worn directly on the skin. A chip in the X-Patch then records data from all head impacts and shares it with X2’s Impact Management System app in real-time—much like Prevent Biometrics’ system.

Beyond sports, both company’s products have also caught the interest of the U.S. military. In the last year, Prevent Biometrics received a $4.5 million grant from the Department of Defense to test its technology on training and combat situations. X2's tech had also garnered the interest of the Department of Defense, although it is not working with the government agency any longer. Likewise, the NFL showed interest in X2’s patch and monitoring system and conducted its own tests on the technology several years back.

“By combining the X2 and Prevent technologies, we are excited about the many benefits this will provide to athletes, coaches, trainers, teams, researchers and health care professionals,” said Chris Neil and Chris Siege, two stakeholders in X2, in a joint statement. “Prevent’s Impact Monitor Mouthguard has emerged as the most effective product in the space, and their team has the expertise to commercialize a range of solutions to better understand concussions and immediately improve player safety.”

The acquisition by Prevent Biometrics comes about a year-and-a-half after the business raised $6 million. In September 2017, the company moved its headquarters to an 8,500-square-foot office in Edina—larger than its previous space and one that will allow it to grow its staff while incorporating a new, 675-square-foot lab.

“Head impact monitoring holds transformational potential for concussion safety,” said Prevent Biometrics co-founder and CEO Steve Washburn in prepared remarks. “Our combined intellectual property [with X2] gives us a tremendous competitive advantage in this emerging category.”

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