North East Connected

Equity investment for pioneering life sciences firm

Screen Shot 2016-04-25 at 10.31.46An innovative company, which is on target to save the NHS a billion pounds a year with its specialist products using organic light materials, has received equity investment funding from Durham County Council.

PolyPhotonix, based at the North East Technology Park (NETPark), in Sedgefield, has been awarded the £300,000 investment as it takes its pioneering Noctura 400 sleep mask, which treats diabetic retinopathy, a common cause of blindness, to America and Asia.

Richard Kirk, the founder of PolyPhotonix, said the money would be used to help the award-winning firm as it transitioned from its research and development stage to commercial revenue. He hopes to see his staffing levels more than double within 18 months.

Mr Kirk, said: “We’re ramping up our commercial sales ambition this year. We’re going through a restructuring and moving away from what was an R&D company into revenue. Our ambition is to be in Singapore by the end of the summer and in America by the end of the year. We’re already in Belgium, Switzerland and France.”

The entrepreneur said they were close to seeing their mask – which was recently listed by the Institute of Engineering and Technology as one of the 100 products with the potential to change the world – being offered by the NHS after the Government fast tracked it through the system.

Founded in 2008 by former artist Mr Kirk, PolyPhotonix currently employs 22 and expects to employ around 50 staff within 18 months.  Its next research and development project will be looking for a treatment to wet age related macular degeneration (AMD) – one of the most common causes of blindness in the western world.

Cllr Neil Foster, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for economic regeneration and culture, said: “As our involvement with Atom Bank has already shown, we are proud to take an innovative and direct approach in supporting local companies and helping to create jobs for County Durham.


“PolyPhotonix is yet another great success story for Business Durham and NETPark, adding to the county’s growing reputation as a world leader in cutting edge technology and we’re delighted to show our continued commitment with this investment.”

PolyPhotonix’s base at NETPark, which is managed by Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, is home to scores of pioneering healthcare photonics companies. Its ten-year strategy includes creating 3,000 jobs and adding another £400m to the region’s GVA.

Simon Goon, managing director at Business Durham, said he hoped to see more investment in companies at NETPark: “The investment is quite an innovative approach. It’s about partnership and supporting the business in that partnership. It’s also a sound investment for us.

“PolyPhotonix is a County Durham business making world-leading technology. They’re on a massive growth curve and they’re at the point where they’re breaking into US markets. We want to support them on their journey towards commercial activity.”

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