With his Lucid project, Aaron Labbé is using music as medicine

Aaron Labbé was studying music at a prestigious conservatory in upstate New York when he had his first mental breakdown. He is now using the healing properties of music to help others in difficult situations.

Lucid, the company he co-founded from his thesis project while at the Metropolitan University of Toronto, raised more than $3 million in venture funding this summer to expand his team and advance his effort to help people with the Alzheimer disease.

Aiming to use music as medicine, the company uses a digital therapy platform to create and deliver playlists designed to help relieve stress, focus the mind, or accomplish other cognitive tasks through 20- to 30-minute listening experiences. minutes with which patients can participate daily.

“Ultimately, I’m trying to create alternatives and a higher standard of care and a good quality of life for people dealing with mental health and neuropsychiatric issues,” the 31-year-old said. “And for me, the instrument for that is music.”

The algorithm Lucid has built can react to patients’ biometric and psychometric responses to deliver personalized, AI-curated playlists to help with symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, burnout, and other neurocognitive conditions.

Music therapy has long been known to have positive effects on people living with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as those with heart conditions, depression, autism, and substance abuse.

Labbé says his expanding team hopes that digital delivery of similar benefits could make it a more “accessible and empathetic and ideally non-chemical remedy to support symptoms that people like me experience,” he said.

Currently a team of 14, they hope to double their number in the next 18 to 24 months with new hires in business development, research and engineering.

Aaron Labbé sits inside the illuminated tent that was the prototype for Lucid, an art installation for his thesis project at Metropolitan University of Toronto, which invited participants to interact with the company’s core technology. Photo provided by Aaron Labbé

More than 747,000 Canadians, and 44 million people worldwide, are living with Alzheimer’s, a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The Lucid co-founder was left wanting when he suffered a mental health crisis while studying music in college. He now has a team building a digital therapeutic company around its healing properties.

This makes it an obvious early target for Lucid’s clinical trials and prototypes, but the company aims to apply the technology it is developing to mood, movement and speech disorders, as well as recovery from stroke. stroke.

“It’s looking at the data, looking at the music, finding very interesting patterns,” said Zachary McMahon, another Lucid co-founder and CEO. “The human mind is very, very complex and music is very complex.”

Earlier this year, the company published the results of a peer-reviewed clinical trial showing that musical stimulation reduced acute clinical anxiety among adults.

They plan to use the influx of funds, their first funding round beyond angel investors, to further develop their clinical prototype into a digital therapy to reduce agitation and anxiety in dementia care.

The full equity investment round was led by Amplify Capital and involved Relentless Venture Fund, pan-Canadian MEDTEQ+ consortium, Ontario Innovation Center Market Readiness Co-Investment Fund, Reverb Ventures, Hunter Family Foundation and Leva Capital.

Morgan Sharp / Local Journalism Initiative / National Observer Canada

Leave a Comment