Elon Musk's Neuralink approved by FDA for human trials

Yahoo Finance health care reporter Anjalee Khemlani joins the Live Show to discuss Elon Musk's Neuralink receiving approval for the first-in-human clinical trials and the project's next steps.

Video transcript

SEANA SMITH: Elon Musk's Neuralink announcing it received FDA approval for its first in human clinical trial, meaning that it will be able to test its implant in people's brains. Anjalee Khemlani is here with the details. Anj, what do we need to know? Obviously, a massive milestone here for the company.

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right, it is a huge milestone. They're finally, after four guesses and attempts by Mr. Musk, as well as a failed or rather a rejected filing last year, the company is finally able to move forward in its human trials.

Now, this is just the first step as we know. And they did let us know by Twitter, of course, yesterday, saying in a tweet that they have received the approval, which is the first step and that recruitment has not yet begun for the trial. And they'll be giving out more information later. So this is literally all we know right now about where that stands.

We do know that, of course, the company has faced a lot of pushback in the form of regulatory inquiries from the US Department of Agriculture, looking into how it dealt with the animals that it used for the initial, you know, animal trials.

As well as the Department of Transportation, on whether or not they transported properly pathogens with that were used in monkeys, as well as Congress urging for regulators to investigate the experiments and how quickly there came to be some reports suggesting that it was an added additional pressure and discomfort for these animals because of the pace at which the company was trying to get to these human trials.

So a lot to wait and see on how this moves forward, how many people will be enrolled or allowed to be enrolled in the trials, and whether or not the company will look to the NIH and the government for assistance with these trials. We know that they have already rejected any additional animal level trial help. So it's going to be interesting to see how that pans out

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Anjalee, this is a fascinating space. And certainly, Neuralink not the only one that's been competing. Of course, we know researchers for years have been testing the potential of implantation in brains. But this is a big step for Neuralink, specifically. What's the next step for the company?

ANJALEE KHEMLANI: That's right. And to your point about the competitors, there are a lot, including major medical device company, Medtronic. So there are some other players in the space, some that have already gotten to the clinical trial milestone first. So definitely competitive already, especially to the level that Neuralink can, you know, feasibly get to right now.

I know there have been a lot of promises about being able to make people-- blind people see, help those who are paralyzed move again, or be able to talk by text. So there are different levels at which this could potentially get to. But as of right now, the most basic one is helping with that text portion. And that's what the company is focused on.

So as it stands right now, definitely, more of the short-term goals to focus on and making sure that they get to the recruitment phase of that trial. So that's the immediate next step we have to watch out for.

SEANA SMITH: Something that we will continue to watch, right, Anj, thank you.