A North East firm has won a national award for a product that helps treat a major cause of sight loss.
Polyphotonix, which is based on the NETpark science park at Sedgefield, County Durham, has won the Market Gravity Innovation Award at the 2014 UK National Business Awards for the development of the revolutionary Noctura 400 Sleep Mask.
The mask is worn when people are asleep 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. Because of its design, the treatment is non-invasive and the mask is programmed to administer the correct dose of light each night as part of a continuing therapy.
PolyPhotonix CEO Richard Kirk said: “PolyPhotonix are proud to have won the National Business Award for Innovation. To have PolyPhotonix win such a prestigious award is great recognition for the hard work that the team has put into creating a revolutionary therapy.
“The Noctura 400 has the potential to transform the millions of lives that are affected by Diabetic Retinopathy around the world. The story of PolyPhotonix and the Noctura 400 is a great example of world class innovation from the UK and one we are immensely proud of.”
The prestigious awards saw Polyphotonix take a prize alongside larger and more established companies like Ikea, Experian, ITV and Royal Mail.
Prime Minister David Cameron opened the awards, praising nominees by saying: “You are the people who don’t just create wealth and work, but hope and opportunity.”
PolyPhotonix, which was founded in 2009, is a bio-photonic research company developing light therapy treatments for macular eye disease as well as other medical conditions.
In five years, it has grown from one employee with an idea to manufacturing a phototherapy eye mask that independent health economists working with the NHS estimate could save in excess of £1bn a year.
The company’s mask treats retinopathy, which can be common in people suffering diabetes.
Current treatments for the condition include injections into the eye, which are unpleasant and expensive, and laser treatment, which is only a temporary slowing down of the condition.