Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Bioelectronic medicines: a research roadmap

Realizing the vision of a new class of medicines based on modulating the electrical signalling patterns of the peripheral nervous system needs a firm research foundation. Here, an interdisciplinary community puts forward a research roadmap for the next 5 years.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Famm, K. et al. A jump start for electroceuticals. Nature 496, 159–161 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  2. Gassler, J. P. & Bisognano, J. D. Baroreflex activation therapy in hypertension. J. Hum. Hypertens. (2014).

  3. Strollo, P. J. Jr et al. Upper-airway stimulation for obstructive sleep apnea. N. Engl. J. Med. 370, 139–149 (2014).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  4. Alivisatos, A. P. et al. Nanotools for neuroscience and brain activity mapping. ACS Nano. 7, 1850–1866 (2013).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. Marblestone, A. H. et al. Physical principles for scalable neural recording. Front. Comput. Neurosci. 7, 137 (2013).

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The views and opinions contained in this article are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of the US National Institutes of Health. Douglas Weber, Ph.D., is a Program Manager at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Biological Technologies Office (BTO). DARPA has approved this article for public release, and distribution is unlimited. The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this article/presentation are those of the author(s)/presenter(s) and should not be interpreted as representing the official views or policies, either expressed or implied, of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or the US Department of Defense.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kristoffer Famm.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

K.B. and K.F. are presently employees of GlaxoSmithKline, as indicated in the affiliations.

V.G. is a co-founder of Circuit Therapeutics and holds related intellectual property and stock (less than 5%). At the time of writing, V.G. receives no research funding, royalties, or consultant fees from any for-profit organization.

P.A. is sponsored by Charles Stark Draper Laboratory.

W.M.G. receives funding through GlaxoSmithKline's Bioelectronics R&D programme and research support from Medtronic, Stryker and Ethicon. He holds equity positions in NDI Medical, SPR Therapeutics and Deep Brain Innovations, and is a paid consultant for Autonomic Technologies, Circuit Therapeutics, NeuroAccess Technologies, NeuroTronik, NDI Medical, SetPoint Medical and St. Jude Medical.

V.P. is a paid Consultant to GlaxoSmithKline, Bioelectronics R&D and receives funding through GlaxoSmithKline's Bioelectronics R&D programme.

B.M. is a paid consultant to GlaxoSmithKline.

P.P. receives funding through GlaxoSmithKline's Bioelectronics R&D programme and is a co-founder of Enterowave, Enterx, gIQ. He has several patents in the field of electrical stimulation in various stages of being licensed to different companies.

Supplementary information

Supplementary information S1 (box)

Bioelectronic medicines: the detailed research roadmap (PDF 305 kb)

Related links

Related links


Bioelectronics R&D — Million Dollar Innovation Challenge (GlaxoSmithKline)

NIH BRAIN Working Group (interim report; 16 Sep 2013)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Birmingham, K., Gradinaru, V., Anikeeva, P. et al. Bioelectronic medicines: a research roadmap. Nat Rev Drug Discov 13, 399–400 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing