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Back to News Polyphotonix team

16th February 2024

Investment boost for the North East firm transforming diabetic retinopathy


Northern Powerhouse Investment FundTees Valley Combined AuthorityNPIF - FW Captal Debt Finance

North East bio-photonic research and development company PolyPhotonix has received a six figure investment from NPIF-FW Capital Debt Finance to assist a ground-breaking product which can help to save the eyesight of diabetes patients.

The Noctura 400 Mask is an non-invasive, low cost treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness.  It is used by patients at home every night during sleep and delivers a low level of light though closed eyelids to prevent their eyes from dark adapting. This manages the nocturnal oxygen demand of the retina during the night and avoids the risk of retinal hypoxia, which is key in the mechanism of retinopathy development in patients with diabetes.

In clinical trials Noctura 400 has been found to improve or stabilise sight loss in diabetics. It is a home-based monitored treatment and costs a fraction of current treatments. The current treatment pathway is to simply monitor patients who have early signs of the disease until their eyes deteriorate and qualify for treatment. By offering the Noctura 400 sleep mask at this earlier stage, patients’ vision is preserved, referrals into hospital clinics are reduced and the later stage expensive and invasive injections are avoided, saving around £3K per patient per year.

PolyPhotonix has a customer services centre in Tees Valley as well as an office in South Durham. The company has received the investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance which is managed by FW Capital and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund.

The funding is supporting the new customer service centre and promotion of the Noctura 400 mask here in the UK following a partnership agreement with Embecta, one of the world’s largest diabetic treatment companies. In November 2022, the Noctura 400 received UK NHS approval which led to the Embecta agreement which will see the product being sold in the UK and Ireland, with other countries to follow. The product also has regulatory approvals in Europe, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore and Argentina.

Richard Kirk Chief Executive Officer, at PolyPhotonix said: “The concept of the Noctura 400 is very simple because it’s an eye mask that is worn at night that delivers low level light at your home at significantly reduced cost to the expensive eye injections and laser treatments available in hospitals.  I’m very proud of where we are today and the difference this product is making to diabetic patients who are worried about losing their eyesight. It’s a real game changer and is extremely efficacious.

“For most people maintaining good eyesight is paramount and Noctura 400 represents an easy choice. It is safe, easy to use, pain free, non-invasive, and it does not take up their valuable time in that they are treated whilst they are asleep. It avoids having to attend increasingly frequent hospital appointments, Maintaining their eyesight means they can continue to drive, preserving their independence, ability to work, supports good mental health and overall quality of life.

“The partnership agreement with Embecta is very important to us because it gives us a bigger voice, opening more doors for us. There is also enormous potential globally because we can treat patients at a fraction of the costs using this disruptive technology which tests have shown also improves eyesight. The funding from FW Capital is helping us to achieve our goals. Keith and his team have been very accessible and made this a smooth process.”

 Keith Charlton, Fund Manager at FW Capital added: “PolyPhotonix is transforming diabetic eye care and it’s non-invasive and cost-effective approach is benefitting both healthcare providers and patients. It’s an exciting time for the business as it drives forward. There is enormous potential for growth overseas too. The management team is highly experienced, and Richard is very well regarded in the sector. I’m delighted to help PolyPhotonix with this funding which will help them to bring the Noctura 400 Mask to more NHS healthcare providers and their patients.”

Keira Shepperson, Director, British Business Bank, said: “This deal is evidence that Northern businesses are spearheading the advancement of medical technology, and it is brilliant to see the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund playing a role in bringing PolyPhotonix’s product to life. The deal also shines a light on the incredible innovation coming out of Tees Valley, a region that is becoming a key pillar in delivering a thriving Northern economy.”

 The current NPIF investment phase has now completed with the British Business Bank launching the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II in March 2024.

The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

FW Capital Limited is regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority as a small authorised UK Alternative Investment Fund Manager under firm reference number 506719.

Editors Notes



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