Alexandra Gent
Senior Investment Executive

“There is enormous potential globally because we can treat patients at a fraction of the costs using this disruptive technology which tests have shown also improves eyesight. The funding from FW Capital is helping us to achieve our goals.”

Richard Kirk, Chief Executive, PolyPhotonix

Bio-photonic research and development company PolyPhotonix received a six-figure investment from NPIF – FW Capital Debt Finance, as part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund, to assist development of a ground-breaking product which can help to save the eyesight of diabetes patients.

PolyPhotonix has a customer services centre in Tees Valley as well as an office in South Durham. The funding supported the new customer service centre and promotion of the Noctura 400 mask in the UK following a partnership agreement with Embecta, one of the world’s largest diabetic treatment companies. 

The Noctura 400 Mask is a non-invasive, low-cost treatment for diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common causes of blindness.  It is used by patients at home every night during sleep and delivers a low level of light though closed eyelids to prevent their eyes from dark adapting. This manages the nocturnal oxygen demand of the retina during the night and avoids the risk of retinal hypoxia, which is key in the mechanism of retinopathy development in patients with diabetes. 

In clinical trials, Noctura 400 has been found to improve or stabilise sight loss in diabetics. It is a home-based monitored treatment and costs a fraction of current treatments. The current treatment pathway is to simply monitor patients who have early signs of the disease until their eyes deteriorate and qualify for treatment. By offering the Noctura 400 sleep mask at this earlier stage, patients’ vision is preserved, referrals into hospital clinics are reduced and the later stage expensive and invasive injections are avoided, saving around £3K per patient per year.

In November 2022, the Noctura 400 received UK NHS approval which led to the Embecta agreement which will see the product being sold in the UK and Ireland, with other countries to follow. The product also has regulatory approvals in Europe, Brazil, Hong Kong, Singapore and Argentina.

The first NPIF investment phase has now completed with the British Business Bank launching the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund II in March 2024.