Richard Kirk wins Emerging Entrepreneur Award

17 Feb 2015

Richard Kirk, CEO of PolyPhotonix has won the title of North East BQ Emerging Entrepreneur 2015 for the development of PolyPhotonix’s revolutionary Noctura 400 Sleep Mask.

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Noctura 400 is worn during sleep hours and treats Diabetic Retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness in the western world. The mask delivers a precise dose of light therapy during a patient’s normal hours of sleep. It comes in two parts – a plastic Pod” part, which is inserted into a soft cushioned Fabric Mask. The Pod contains the light sources which, when worn, emits light into the eyes through closed eyelids. The treatment is non-invasive and the mask is programmed to administer the correct dose of light each night as part of a continuing therapy.

Noctura 400 will revolutionise the treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy. There are currently two commonly used treatments. One involves frequent intraocular injections directly into the eye, this can be very unpleasant, and currently costs in excess of £10,000 per eye per year. The other is a laser treatment that effectively cauterises the affected and damaged blood vessels in the macula; the treatment is not permanent and only delays the inevitable progress of the disease, normally this treatment is only performed a small number of times on a patient. The Noctura 400 treatment is provided at a fraction of the cost and creates the opportunity to provide affordable treatment to the millions who are affected across the globe.

Richard gained the accolade at an awards ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel, Gateshead, last week and will be invited to MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival 2015 in Sheffield in October to compete for the BQ National Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year title.

Shortlisted entrants were chosen on the basis of entrepreneurial character, business performance, business strategy, business impact, innovation and personal values. The three others on the North East shortlist were: Daniel Robson of Green Digit; Jamie Cooke and Ben Ridgway of iam-sold; and Yaqoob Ishaq of The Punjab Kitchen.

Last week’s event was hosted by Mark Easton, BBC home editor, and the guest speaker was Stephen Kee, managing director of Saks, the Darlington based national award-winning hair and beauty salon group.

Bryan Hoare, director of Room 501, which publishes BQ magazine, said: 

Congratulations to Richard who was the worthy winner in an extremely strong field of contestants who bear testimony to the vibrant entrepreneurial culture we have in the North East. BQ magazine is all about profiling and encouraging entrepreneurs and we are delighted to be able to showcase them at the awards and to give Richard such an important national platform as the MADE festival, which has been described as a Glastonbury for business.”

Richard Kirk added: 

It’s not only a great delight to have won the North East BQ Emerging Entrepreneur award, it’s a great recognition of the strength and calibre of the PolyPhotonix team and the innovative product that we have created. Noctura 400 has the potential to transform the millions of lives that are affected by Diabetic Retinopathy around the world. The story of PolyPhotonix and Noctura 400 is a great example of world class innovation from the North East and one we are immensely proud of.”

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