Ybrain, a South Korean startup that develops electroceuticals for brain diseases, plans to sell its digital health care device that treats depression in South Korea. As a result, an era of electronic devices that are able to replace existing drugs is expected to start in South Korea as well.
“We successfully completed phase III of clinical trial regarding efficaciousness of self-treatment of depression using our electroceutical device and we plan to apply for an approval to sell out product to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) by the end of this year and insurance registration review and comprehensive review of new medical technology as well.” said CEO Lee Ki-won of Ybrain. “We believe that we will be able to sell the device sometime during next year.”
Electroceuticals indicate bioelectronic device that is able to treat illness by applying electrical stimulation instead of drugs or needles. It is normally seen as a new field of miniaturized medical device related to control of cranial nerves. If digital therapeutics make changes by correcting perceptions and behaviors continuously, electroceuticals are able to provide curative effect just by wearing them. The global market for electroceuticals is currently worth $3.56 billion (4 trillion KRW) and it is growing at an average of 13% annually.
“The biggest advantage of electroceuticals is that they do not cause any side-effect that may be caused by chemically synthesized medicines.” said CEO Lee. “When they are used with drugs, their actual effects will be maximized.”

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<Ybrain’s electroceutical device for brain diseases>

Ybrain’s electroceutical device is a device that improves neuropsychosis by controlling brain functions through small electrical stimulation. The company successfully completed phase III of clinical trial regarding efficaciousness of self-treatment of depression recently. After 65 patients who were diagnosed with light and medium-level depression used the company’s device for 30 minutes daily and for a period of 6 weeks, the company verified that symptoms from 40% of the patients were improved. Compliance from patients towards the device compared to antidepressant was also improved greatly.
The company plans to sell the device along with a top pharmaceutical manufacturer that specializes in neuropsychiatry once it receives an approval from the MFDS. It is also discussing with a top Japanese pharmaceutical manufacturer about distributing the device in Japan and is looking into a partnership in order to receive an approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Ybrain was established in 2013 by CEO Lee and people who graduated from KAIST with a master’s degree or doctor’s degree. With a slogan “Bandage That Heals Heart”, it has been working on electroceutical platforms for brain diseases and it is known to be one of the best companies in this field. In 2017, it built a platform that linked one electroceutical device to thousands of modules and managed non-hospitalized patients and prevented drug abuse and accelerated the clinical trial of the electroceutical device since then.
It is also going through the world’s first phase III of clinical trial on electroceuticals for non-hospitalized patients suffering from dementia. It received a clinical approval from the MFDS and is conducting trials on about 120 patients at 7 hospitals. It hopes to complete the development of the device by the end of this year. Besides these electroceutical devices, the company is also working on pipelines for migraine, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and autoimmune diseases.
“Our primary goal is to have electroceuticals that are effective and have less side-effects establish themselves within the existing hospital system.” said CEO Lee. “We are currently working on R&D on modularization in order to diversify our product line and registering new medical technology and applying insurance cost and we are also closely working with researchers from overseas who specialize in controlling brain functions in order to issue international guideline for safety.”
Staff Reporter Jung, Hyeonjung | iam@etnews.com