PolyPhotonix wins North East Business Award

17 Mar 2015

Durham-base CPI spinout, PolyPhotonix, wins the Innovation Award at the Durham and Wearside North East Business Awards 2015 for their revolutionary sleep mask treatment for diabetic retinopathy.

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Hosted by BBC Look North presenter Jeff Brown, the awards spanned 12 hotly contested categories which honoured a diverse range of sectors from subsea engineering to medical technology and construction to retail.

The 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. Nothing is inserted into the eyes – the treatment is non-invasive. The mask is programmed to administer the correct dose of light each night as part of a continuing therapy.

The Noctura 400® treatment 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 Kirk, CEO of PolyPhotonix added: 

It’s really great to win, but this is really about the recognition of our stakeholders. We’ve had a lot of help from the likes of the government and InnovateUK, as well as a number of other investors. This award is about recognition of those who bought into what we do. Our work has been considered controversial and is in a difficult area to crack. Those stakeholders have really put a lot of faith in us and it’s great that can be recognised.”

Organised by The Journal and its sister paper on Teesside, The Gazette, the annual competition is held in association with the North East Chamber of Commerce and turns the spotlight on the last 12 months in businesses large and small from across the region.

All the winners from the Durham and Wearside event go through to the regional final, which will take place at Hardwick Hall in Sedgefield next month.

Founded in 2009 and based at CPI, PolyPhotonix is a biophotonic company developing light therapy treatments for macular eye disease. In just six years PolyPhotonix has grown from one employee with an idea, to manufacturing a phototherapy eye mask that will save the NHS in excess of £1 billion a year.

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