Battelle Brings Specialized Engineering Capabilities and Clinical Study Expertise to Collaboration with Spark Biomedical on Department of Defense $1.15 Million Grant

COLUMBUS, Ohio (Dec. 13, 2023)—Battelle, the world’s largest independent, non-profit R&D company, and Spark Biomedical, Inc., a Dallas-based pioneer in wearable neurostimulation technologies are collaborating on the development of a non-invasive device to tackle the harmful effects of Acute Stress Reactions (ASR). The partnership is part of a $1.15 million Phase II grant awarded to Spark Biomedical, Inc.

The device, Sparrow® Hawk, uses Transcutaneous Auricular Neurostimulation (tAN®) to prevent or mitigate ASRs in combat settings. In harsh or stressful environments, ASRs impair cognitive function, jeopardizing mission success and potentially endangering the health and safety of military personnel. Long-term exposure to ASRs can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a higher risk of suicide.

Current treatment methods for the military are limited as providing prompt access to trained personnel is not always possible in combat or frontline settings. Sparrow Hawk’s low-profile, wearable form factor allows for use in far-forward settings.

In Phase I of the collaboration, Battelle conducted interviews with combat medics to help develop critical benchmarks and performance parameters for a wearable device.

During Phase II, Battelle’s medical device development team will leverage their experience in advanced materials, data science, and engineering to partner with Spark on the development of a functional Sparrow Hawk device for use in clinical trials. The clinical trials will evaluate the efficacy of the device in restoring cognitive performance in a clinical environment designed to simulate the stress of the battlefield.

“We’re excited to begin this important work with Spark that has the potential to do so much good for so many people,” said Michael Darrow, a senior biomedical engineer for Battelle’s Medical Device Solutions group which specifically focuses on neuromodulation. “Once our engineers have developed a functioning device, we can then test it in a clinical setting at Battelle to evaluate its performance in a clinical model of carefully constructed laboratory stress.”

“Our strong partnership with Battelle has allowed us to further advance Spark’s wearable neurostimulation device, Sparrow Hawk, and ultimately expand our clinical indications to military and civilian Acute Stress Reaction,” said Dr. Navid Khodaparast, Chief Science Officer at Spark Biomedical. “Following this project, we intend to launch a larger clinical trial examining the effects of tAN therapy in those suffering from trauma-induced ASR.”

About Battelle
Every day, the people of Battelle apply science and technology to solving what matters most. At major technology centers and national laboratories around the world, Battelle conducts research and development, designs and manufactures products, and delivers critical services for government and commercial customers. Headquartered in Columbus, Ohio since its founding in 1929, Battelle serves the national security, health and life sciences, and energy and environmental industries. For more information, visit

For more information contact Katy Delaney at (614) 424-7208 or at [email protected] or contact T.R. Massey at (614) 424-5544 or at [email protected].

About Spark Biomedical
Spark Biomedical, Inc. is a leading U.S.-based wearable neurostimulation solutions developer devoted to the life-saving work of helping 36.3 million people worldwide overcome withdrawal, heal from addiction, and achieve the better quality of life they deserve. With opioid-related misuse and overdose deaths on the rise, the company’s mission is to eliminate opioid use disorder by working to address the full lifecycle, including withdrawal management, opioid-sparing, relapse prevention, and PTSD/trauma abatement.

For more information contact Jackie Powell at [email protected] or contact Udim Obot at [email protected].


Dec 13, 2023


Battelle Media Relation

Media Contacts

Katy Delaney
Director, Media Relations
Office: 1.614.424.7208
Email: [email protected] 

T.R. Massey
Senior Media Specialist
Office: 1.614.424.5544 
Email: [email protected] 

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