SEDGEFIELD MedTech company PolyPhotonix has secured a $10m investment deal with US company Prevail InfoWorks to undertake clinical trials in the United States for a Sleep Mask to treat diabetic retinopathy patients.

PolyPhotonix's Noctura 400 Sleep Mask uses light therapy during the patient's normal hours of sleep to reduce and reverse the effects of diabetic retinopathy, the most common cause of blindness in the western world.

Diabetic retinopathy is a complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye, which can cause blindness if left untreated.

Richard Kirk, the Chief Executive of PolyPhotonix, said as the deal was announced: "Our new global strategic partnership with Prevail InfoWorks will be a valuable asset to our vital work in tackling diabetic retinopathy worldwide.

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"We are delighted to be working with such a major player in the industry and hope to break into the US market in the very near future.

"The investment and the forthcoming FDA trial will help support and develop the evidence base for Noctura 400's clinical effectiveness for diabetic retinopathy patients at risk of losing their sight.

"This multimillion-pound deal will accelerate the clinical trial process and advance other indications in our biotechnology pipeline.

"At a time when health services across the globe are struggling to bounce back from the COVID-19 crisis, our sleep mask can be used by patients at home, reducing the pressure on frontline hospital services."

PolyPhotonix's new strategic partner Prevail InfoWorks are a leading global company based in Philadelphia, specialising in innovative technology for their clinical development. Successful completion of the FDA clinical trial will enable PolyPhotonix to access the lucrative US market.

Based in County Durham's NETPark, the recent investment success marks the latest chapter in the company's international expansion plans, with the mask already in use in Europe, including the UK, France and Portugal.

A recent UK NHS Real World Evaluation undertaken during the COVID pandemic found that 98% of eyes achieved positive clinical outcomes using the mask.

The results have been published in The Journal of Ophthalmology, one of the sector's leading publications.

There are currently two commonly used treatments. These treatments are expensive, require substantial clinician time and need patients to attend a hospital on a regular basis.

One involves frequent intravitreal injections directly into the eye, this can be very unpleasant, and prohibitively expensive.

The other is a laser treatment that effectively cauterises the affected and damaged blood vessels in the macula, but the treatment is not permanent and only delays the inevitable progress of the disease.

The new deal will leverage Prevail InfoWorks' capabilities and technological expertise for achieving the highest quality data in the shortest possible time to expedite the clinical trial process.

Jack Houriet, Chief Executive Prevail InfoWorks said, 'The extraordinary visionaries and scientists at PolyPhotonix are making major advances in the treatment of diabetic retinopathy.

"We are delighted to be working with PolyPhotonix to take the treatment through to successful FDA regulatory approval as quickly as possible with our technologies and clinical services.

"Early stage treatments are more urgently required than ever with more than 40% of diabetic patients suffering from diabetic retinopathy.'


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