MedTech start-up’s handheld, non-contacting device measures axial length of the eye for monitoring the progression of myopia.
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Occuity, a rapidly-growing based MedTech company based in Reading, UK, is opening a new funding round to provide the company with the capital necessary to advance its handheld, non-contact screening and monitoring products and to capitalise on what it sees as a very attractive new opportunity.
Longevity.Technology: Occuity is building on a solid foundation; having previously become the largest MedTech raise on leading crowdfunding platform, Seedrs, the company has now progressed both its first device, the PM1 Pachymeter, used to support the detection of glaucoma, and its GM1 Glucose meter for diabetes.
Alongside the filing of several new patents, these innovations have significantly improved the technology platform and enabled the engineering team to combine technical elements from both the PM1 and GM1 projects to unlock a new opportunity to create a handheld, non-contact meter that can measure the ‘Axial Length’ of the eye in just a few seconds.
Put simply, the axial length of the eye is a measurement of how long the eye is, from front to back; it reaches adult length by the age of 13 years, but while some research suggests axial length may decrease with aging , an increase is associated with myopia, commonly known as short-sightedness . Left untreated, myopia complications can lead to blindness, so accurate, early detection is key. Eye health changes with age, and a deterioration in vision can lead to a loss of independence, increase in isolation and impact on mental health; these all have a negative effect on healthspan and longevity.
With 4.76 billion people predicted to suffer from myopia by 2050, myopia management is one of the fastest-growing market in the global ophthalmic sector – and measuring axial length is part of that management. Such is the size of the opportunity, and with interest in the market growing, Occuity has moved to rapidly develop a handheld prototype and successfully demonstrated its performance against existing larger, much more expensive desktop meters. The AX1 Axiometer could be about to revolutionise the way this key measurement is made.
Longevity.Technology reached out to Dan Daly, CEO and Co-founder of Occuity, who told us that myopia is such a common condition that it is easy to underappreciate how serious the problem can be.
“However, when you start looking at the potential long-term effects of axial myopia (the most common form), which include a much greater risk of conditions such as cataracts, retinal detachment, glaucoma and myopic maculopathy, it is easier to appreciate why the remarkable statistic – that by 2050 half of the world’s population will be myopic – is extremely concerning,” explained Daly. “As people live longer, the value of good eyesight and eye health should not be underestimated, both in terms of the cost to the individual and society as a whole.”
According to Daly, there is a growing movement to correct the view that myopia is simply “refractive error” that can be corrected with glasses, to one that says we should tackle the cause, because left unmanaged, eyeball elongation can lead to serious sight-threatening eye diseases.
“Authoritative bodies such as the World Council of Optometry (WCO) have declared that the ‘standard of care for myopia must include early detection in children allowing myopia management with evidence-based treatments to prevent catastrophic healthcare effects’,” he says.
“Through our research and development work, we have combined technical elements from both our PM1 and GM1 projects to unlock a new opportunity to create a handheld, non-contact meter that can measure the ‘Axial Length’ of the eye in just a few seconds,” says Daly, explaining that already working in handheld prototype form, the AX1 will make it easier for optometrists to offer screening and ongoing axial length myopia management.
“We believe the demand will be very substantial as a recent poll highlighted that 97% of optometrists said they didn’t have a way to measure axial length and 90% said they wanted a cost effective, simple solution.”
Occuity is in discussions with several of the leading myopia management suppliers in this multi-billion-dollar market, and is confident it will form a partnership agreement with one or more of these global corporations by the end of 2022.
“Occuity continues to project sustained revenue growth and believes that the combination of the PM1 coming to market, coupled with a potentially huge commercial pipeline for the AX1, means that the company anticipates a significant valuation increase once these events are realised,” commented Daly.
As in its previous round, Occuity additionally plans to offer its community of friends and followers the opportunity to invest in the business by providing a crowdfunding element to the round.
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