A UK-based business has received £2.85million investment funding to forge ahead with its development of the Occuity Indigo, an innovative non-contact, optical glucose meter. The device will allow the 4.7million people in the UK with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels through a simple scan of the eye.
Occuity, the medical technology start-up, which is developing the Indigo, has raised the largest MedTech financing deal on leading crowdfunding platform, Seedrs. The original £1.8million target was reached within 24 hours of launch.
The team, comprised of experts in optics, mechanical engineering, and industrial design, are also collaborating with the medical and academic world including partnerships with the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the University of Bristol.
The deal is groundbreaking for people with diabetes but caught the attention of investors because of the broad potential usage of the company’s patented optical technology for a range of conditions including glaucoma, myopia, diabetes management, pre-diabetes screening and eventually, it is hoped, the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.
Occuity CEO and co-founder Dr Dan Daly comments: “We’re delighted to have become the largest ever MedTech raise on Seedrs with over 850
investors from 37 countries, sharing our vision.
“Diabetes is a growing, global problem and we believe our technology will enable health services throughout the world to monitor and screen for diabetes, improving the clinical outcomes for the hundreds of millions of people who are unaware they have pre-diabetes or diabetes.
“The Occuity Indigo will then make regular glucose testing easier, faster and pain-free, improving the daily lives of many millions more people worldwide.”
Design Director, Daniele De Iuliis, who – having spent 27 years as part of Apple’s Industrial Design Group – is now leading on the design of the Occuity Indigo, comments: “For too long now, the way in which we discover and monitor chronic diseases like diabetes has been routed in repetitive finger stick blood testing with all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience that brings.
“In contrast, the Occuity Indigo will be a discrete handheld product that will simply scan the eye to take a glucose measurement providing a pain-free 21st century solution that is long overdue.”
How will the technology work?
- Optical confocal scanning technology allows very precise measurements of structures within the eye, to be made down to micron level.
- The scanning technology will detect the concentration of Advanced Glycation End-Products (AGEs) which build up in the eye over time.
- Invisible ‘Blue’ light illuminates the eye and the returning scattered blue light alongside green fluorescent light from the AGEs is detected.
- Coupled with machine learning techniques, the readings from this device will give an indication of whether the subject is non-diabetic, pre-diabetic or diabetic
- Taking just a few seconds, the test is completely non-contacting, so can be performed in a non-clinical setting in a pharmacy, an optician’s practice, or even in a domiciliary setting such as a care home.
Glucose monitoring (Occuity Indigo)
- The Occuity Indigo will be based on the company’s core optical confocal scanning technology
- The personal use device will scan the eye’s aqueous humour within the anterior chamber of the eye
- It is non-contact, rapid and completely painless
- The aqueous humour is effectively an ultra-filtrate of blood i.e. blood with the red and white cells filtered out. This means that the levels of glucose found within it correlates very well with that in the blood stream
- As the concentration of glucose in the eye changes, the way in which light travels through the eye – the refractive index – also changes.
- With its ability to make very precise measurements, the Occuity Indigo will be able to detect this change and in turn determine the concentration of glucose in the blood.