Sleeping off diabetic retinopathy

PolyPhotonix is a SME based at NETPark Business Park in Sedgefield.

Over the Covid period, PolyPhotonix have been working very closely with Ashford St Peters NHS Trust near London.  Innovate UK provided funding during 2019 for a pilot evaluation a medical device (Noctura 400) for the treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy at the Trust. The evaluation spanned the Covid-19 lockdowns of 2020 and uniquely kept this highly vulnerable patient group treated, with outstanding clinical success and patient acceptability. It must be remembered that most patients in the UK with this disease received no hospital treatment at all during this period.

The clinical of the success of the evaluation resulted in a published paper in the Journal of Ophthalmology and an NHS adoption business case, given the significant clinical benefits presented, patient preference, and strong health economic case. The study reported that 98% of eyes saw a positive clinical outcome.

PolyPhotonix, an SME with limited funds, have for the past two years been funding patients who have completed clinical trials. Rather than withdraw the treatment at the close of a study or trial we continue to fund, believing that this is the ethically correct approach and with the full and grateful support of the hospital clinical teams. We are now in the rather unusual position of funding the treatment of NHS patients.

We continue to supply the treatment and patient support free of charge whilst we wait for NHS adoption and procurement.

The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask is an innovative, non-invasive and monitored home care treatment developed by NETPark firm, PolyPhotonix. The mask is programmed to administer a certain dose of light of a particular wavelength each night to maintain or improve diabetic eye changes and a patient’s vision. Current treatments for diabetic retinopathy are laser treatment and/or injections of anti-VEGF pharmaceuticals directly into the eye. These treatments are expensive, require substantial clinician time and need patients to attend a hospital on a regular basis.

Diabetic eye disease (Diabetic Retinopathy) is one the most common causes of sight loss in the western world.

Diabetes is the second most common underlying condition among COVID-19 patients who have died, of which 35% had the illness. Government advice is that patients with high risk conditions should not go to hospital, which means that patients with diabetes currently receiving hospital treatment for diabetic eye disease are at risk. It is likely that diabetic patients who cannot attend clinic for treatment (as many clinic appointments are being cancelled) are further risking their sight

PolyPhotonix have received many £ millions of funding via the NHS, SBRI and Innovate UK of the past years to support clinical trials and studies. The treatment has full CE approval and is being used in European and Middles Eastern countries and we are awaiting an FDA approval to open up US markets.  Independent health economists working with the NHS estimate the Noctura 400 Sleep Mask could save in excess of £300 million a year on the adoption of the technology.

Diabetic Retinopathy is sight threatening complication of type 1 and type 2 diabetes, has a huge and growing patient population who are currently treated at a high frequency in hospital through highly invasive and expensive interventions. Diabetic Retinopathy is one of the major costs to the NHS.

The Noctura 400 eye mask compares very favourably with current treatment (interocular injections or laser treatment) when compared on patient experience, cost and increasingly with our current health focus on safety – as treatment is at home.

We feel this is a great SME, Innovate UK, taxpayer, NHS, Covid-19, success story that deserves recognition, celebration, and support.

Richard Kirk, founder and CEO PolyPhotonix

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