The repetitive finger stick blood testing with all the pain, discomfort and inconvenience that brings for people suffering from diabetes might become a thing of the past very soon. A ground-breaking device that will allow the 4.7 million people in the UK with diabetes to monitor their blood-sugar levels through a simple scan of the eye is about to see the light of the day. The Berkshire-based startup Occuity has received investment funding to forge ahead with its development of the Occuity Indigo, the extremely innovative non-contact, optical glucose meter.
Founded in 2019 by Dr. Dan Daly and Dr Robin Taylor, the startup’s vision is to use the eye as a window into the health of the body. The UK-based medical technology company specialising in the research, design, and production of handheld non-contacting optical instruments for use in healthcare, diagnostics, and monitoring, has raised the largest medtech financing deal (£2.85 million) on leading crowdfunding platform, Seedrs to develop Indigo. The original £1.8 million target was reached within 24 hours of launch.
The deal is ground-breaking 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.”
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.
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.
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