CARY – A Cary medtech startup already backed by NBA legend Charles Barkley has added to its coffers again.

NeuroVice, which has developed a tongue protector for seizure suffers, has landed an additional $100,000 from a group of local angel investors. That’s on top of $300,000 raised in January and an undisclosed amount raised from the famous basketball player last year.

That brings total raised to date to $600,000.

“This will get us to the finish line,” NeuroVice’s founder and CEO Ashlyn Sanders, 28, told WRAL TechWire, who plans to apply for FDA clearance in the coming months.

PATI is a single-use, disposable medical device that prevents oral injuries during seizures.

Barkley became one of the startup’s first investors after Sanders wrote him with a pitch following his guest appearance on ABC’s Season 10 of “Shark Tank” a few years back.

NeuroVice CEO and founder Ashlyn Sanders with NBA legend and angel investor Charles Barkley

It is currently in the final stages of product development at the Morrisville-based medical device design and manufacturing company Gilero.

“Meetings between our project team and the FDA during this last stage of development are helping to lay the groundwork for a smooth and swift 510(k) clearance,” said Gilero’s project manager Amanda Schaffers.

It’s estimated that 3.4 million people suffer from epilepsy, or seizure disorder, in the United States. Symptoms include uncontrollable twitching, which can often cause oral injuries.

An early rendering of PATI.
Source: NeuroVice

Sanders has experienced this firsthand.

In 2014, shortly after starting graduate school for bioethics and science policy at Duke University, she was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation, a condition in which brain tissue extends into your spinal canal.

She required emergency brain surgery. However, to this day, she still lives with the residual neurological effects, which include seizures.

“My perspective was from as a patient living day-to-day with the symptoms,” Sanders said. “I started to think about a device that could be used to safely and effectively prevent that from happening during the seizure.”

Sanders, who is the daughter of NC Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders, is also on her way to becoming a doctor. She’s been accepted to Wake Forest University’s School of Medicine on a merit scholarship and will matriculate this fall.

“My goal has always been to pursue medicine as a physician, but I sacrificed the expediency of that goal to build this company from the ground up and to develop a revolutionary product that will change seizure symptom management for millions of patients. It will be so rewarding to see my product in hospitals and on EMT trucks and  being prescribed to patients as a medical student.”