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  • Writer's pictureRichard Kadri-Langford

Occuity Awarded Innovate UK ‘SBRI’ Research Contract for Revolutionary Alzheimer's Disease Screening Device


20 March 2024 - Occuity, is delighted to announce that today we have received an Innovate UK-funded, ‘Small Business Research Initiative’ (SBRI) research contract to support the development of our non-invasive screening device for Alzheimer’s Disease: the ‘Amyloid Beta Plus Reader' (Aβ+ Reader) Aβ+ Reader.


Occuity - CEO Dr. Dan Daly and Senior Research Scientist and Project Lead, Dr. Alistair Bounds
Occuity - CEO Dr. Dan Daly and Senior Research Scientist and Project Lead, Dr. Alistair Bounds

The award of this contract represents a positive step forward in our quest to tackle Alzheimer’s Disease, which is showing a worrying growth in prevalence. With over 50 million people worldwide currently living with dementia, a number expected to triple by 2050 according to the World Health Organization, the need for early detection has never been more critical.

 

Secretary of State for Science, Innovation and Technology Michelle Donelan said:

“Dementia is an incredibly cruel disease, and as the leading cause of death in the UK nearly every family is affected by it in some way.

 

“As a life sciences world leader, the UK is uniquely placed to make a difference in the fight against dementia, and by bringing academia, industry, the NHS and those with lived experience together we are determined to do just that. Now we need to keep mobilising the resources needed to fuel this vital work – from the funds raised by charities large and small, to the industry backing that’s crucial to delivering more breakthroughs.”

 

Reacting to the news, Dr. Dan Daly, CEO of Occuity, shared his vision: "With Alzheimer's Disease now the leading cause of dementia worldwide, it poses one of the most daunting health challenges of our era. Current diagnostic methods are inadequate, being either non-specific, expensive, or invasive and there is no effective screening programme. Our work on the Aβ+ Reader, embodies our mission to revolutionise healthcare technology with accessible, non-invasive, optical solutions.

 

“This SBRI contract provides important funding that will enable us to move forward towards our goal of delivering a painless, rapid screening method which integrates seamlessly into routine eye exams, thus enabling earlier intervention."

 

Dr. Alistair Bounds, Senior Research Scientist and Project Lead commented: “This is a very exciting project, combining state-of-the-art photonics technologies, advanced biomarkers, and Occuity’s deep expertise in optical and ophthalmic measurements to target the most prevalent form of dementia. It sits perfectly between Occuity’s existing diabetes screening work and our longer-term FLF project, bringing together highly skilled scientists and engineers from both of these projects.”

 

The fight against Alzheimer’s disease is gaining momentum with several promising treatments making their way to the market. This further emphasises the critical need for early diagnosis. Notably, recent therapeutic breakthroughs target the accumulation of amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques in the brain to slow the progression of the disease. Crucial for identifying eligible patients and monitoring treatment efficacy is the ability to assess Aβ. Unlike current tools, the Occuity Aβ+ Reader will achieve this using a simple, non-invasive, unintimidating optical measurement.

 

Currently, Alzheimer's Disease is notoriously difficult to diagnose early due to the subtle onset of symptoms and the lack of definitive tests without invasive procedures. Occuity's Aβ+ Reader seeks to change this landscape by using patented technology to scan the eye's lens for specific biomarkers indicative of Alzheimer’s disease, providing a swift and painless assessment tool. This highlights the urgency and the potential impact of innovative diagnostic tools like the Aβ+ Reader, which align well with the therapeutic window of these emerging treatments.

 



 

The Aβ+ Reader is the culmination of collaborative efforts, combining Occuity's expertise in optical diagnostics with innovations from leading institutions and industry specialists, such as The University of Reading, which will provide critical research on biomaterials to simulate the human lens for device validation and Singular Photonics, which is offering an advanced detector technology essential for the device’s unique imaging capabilities.

 

Dr Cynthia Bullock, Deputy Challenge Director - Healthy Ageing at Innovate UK, commented that Occuity’s Aβ+ Reader submission was: “A highly innovative and low-cost solution that has broad spectrum appeal in a variety of clinical settings and crucially supports the earlier diagnosis of Dementia.”

 

This project is not just a technological endeavour but a community effort, aiming to bridge the gap between cutting-edge research and practical healthcare solutions. By offering a tool that can easily be incorporated into routine eye exams, Occuity aims to demystify Alzheimer's diagnostics, providing clarity and hope to millions at risk of this devastating disease.

 

About Occuity

 

Occuity specialises in the development of non-invasive optical devices for disease screening and monitoring. As a leader in the emerging field of oculomics, Occuity is using the eye as a window to the health of the body to create solutions that aid in early disease detection and improved disease management.

 

For More Information Contact:

Richard Kadri-Langford

Head of Digital Marketing

Tel: 01183 500 800

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