About Michael Zarreii
Michael Zarreii is the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Axon Medical Technologies. He brings more than 25 years of combined executive management, and technological and medical research experience to Axon Medical. His accomplishments include several patents in both the technology and medical industries, as well as many awards including a nomination for the “Innovator of the Year” by Electronics Design News (EDN) magazine.
His leadership was instrumental in the development and commercialization of Axon Medical’s new enhanced cognitive assessment technology (ECAT™) and neurological performance measurement platform, Intellig-EYES™, a non-invasive, easily-administered, truly objective test that revolutionizes the delivery of diagnostics and therapeutics for patients suffering from concussions, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative conditions.
The Intellig-EYES name pays homage to Zarreii’s late daughter, Samira Elizabeth, who passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest at the young age of 26. An early champion of her father’s research and commercialization of Intellig-EYES, she helped to create the platform’s name and is responsible for the brand’s basic creative designs.
Zarreii holds a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering, a Master of Science in controls engineering, and maintains continuing medical education credits in neurology from New York University’s School of Medicine Center for Health Informatics and Bioinformatics.
The Axon Medical Technologies Story
In 2003, Zarreii took on an entrepreneurial role with a philanthropic path to understand the relationship between the performance of the human brain’s involuntary sensory functions and its impact on cognition and learning abilities. The vision always was and still remains that if these complex problems are solved by new discoveries, new diagnostic and therapeutic devices will emerge that will benefit millions of lives. These were lofty goals, and it was clear that achieving them required many years of hard work.
This research turned out to be more difficult than anticipated because of its revolutionary approach using non-invasive methods to map the performance of 85% of the neurons in the human brain. This novel approach had little prior research and took more effort to get through the manufacturing and regulatory hurdles.
Over 19 years of work finally paid off! The U.S. Army saw the value that Axon Medical’s products can bring to injured service members and funded a four-year study that will lead to the adaptation of the Intellig-EYES and ECAT platforms into various medical treatment protocols for use in battlegrounds and hospitals.
Risks and Challenges
Undertaking such large research without any government grants for 19 years was a herculean task. Zarreii and select friends invested millions of dollars to gain the science and develop products that are fully automated, non-invasive, lightweight, portable, accurate, cost-effective, readily accessible and produce clear and accurate reports.
To minimize the risk of his efforts, Zarreii set out to gain an in-depth knowledge of neurology and the current gold-standard treatments for patients with various neurological deficits that Axon Medical’s products are designed to address. In 2017, Zarreii signed up with the NYU School of Medicine to obtain continuing medical education credits in neurology. He also knew that Axon Medical needed top physicians on its advisory board to guide the journey to success. Axon Medical was very fortunate to secure the chief medical officer of the NCAA, several colonels serving as U.S. Army medical research doctors, as well as a number of renowned physicians from various universities to join its unpaid advisory board.
Axon Medical’s approach to use non-invasive methods to measure autonomic nervous system cranial nerves II, III, VI and VI performance changes required innovation in optics, stimuli generation, and establishing measurement standards that did not exist. These technologies have resulted in several patents, with more pending.
Another innovation was the system design, use of remote operational control and practice to lease rather than sell the devices. Axon Medical wanted to reduce the financial implementation risk of large healthcare providers by leasing the devices at a modest fee, then charge by patient scan. The technology has a CPT code for reimbursement by insurance carriers, allowing providers to have immediate profitability.
Axon Medical is dedicated to continuing research and development. The company is learning how to manage controlled expansion into commercial and military markets simultaneously. The ECAT platform is ready for market. This required expansion of manufacturing, sales and marketing organization is needed to serve all potential market segments.
Future Plans and Culture
Axon Medical has several products ready for release and will need to adapt to a larger company culture while keeping the research and development and entrepreneurial spirit.