Enterprise Ireland and HSE award five companies innovation contracts to address diabetes

3rd December, 2019

Pictured L-R: Marguerite Bourke, SBIR Manager, Enterprise Ireland; Avril Copeland, Innerstrength and Sarah O’Brien, National Lead: Healthy Eating and Active Living Programme, HSE.

€100,000 in funding through Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme is to be awarded to five companies following a competitive call. The SBIR funding will enable the SMEs to develop new innovations and technologies to address health complications that arise as a result of diabetes.

The awards follow a competitive Challenge arising from the first SBIR collaboration between Enterprise Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) in December 2018, with the joint goal of delivering improved patient care through intelligent use of technology. The Challenge aims to specifically target two areas: reducing the risk of women developing Type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes; and screening for diabetic foot disease in all patients with diabetes.

The five companies that have been awarded Phase One funding will now work with HSE diabetes clinicians to test the feasibility of their ideas. A smaller number of the five awarded companies will progress to Phase Two, where further funding will be available, to develop and commercialise new solutions. Unlike the traditional procurement process, the clinical input at all stages of this process offers the opportunity for real co-design and testing. For the companies who responded, SBIR has offered a transparent, competitive process, with a clearly defined route to potential commercial exploitation.

The successful businesses and their proposals are:

  • Galway-based Bluedrop Medical is proposing a home-based, remote monitoring screening device for early identification and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers.
  • UK company Cadscan and its low-cost foot screening tool quickly determines the patient’s risk of ulceration.
  • Innerstrength bring their proven technology and multi-disciplinary approach to provide a platform which addresses the challenge of type 2 diabetes in women after pregnancy.
  • Infocare and its technology connects to medical devices, allowing point-of-care and at-home testing to be reliably uploaded to the patient’s medical record.
  • Jinga Life, based in Dublin, presents a mobile digital health platform that enables you to manage your family's health information, medical appointments and clinical images.

Julie Sinnamon, Chief Executive, Enterprise Ireland commented, “Enterprise Ireland is delighted to partner with the HSE on SBIR’s first health Challenge. We see huge potential for the Irish healthcare system to leverage SBIR to deliver more efficient, and more ‘fit for purpose’ technologies. Congratulations to the Phase One winners and we look forward to the progression of their emerging technologies. These companies now have a valuable opportunity to co-design innovative solutions with Irish clinicians to tackle diabetes, which they can then commercialise and ultimately sell globally.”

Fran Thompson, Acting Chief Information Officer, HSE said, “Huge congratulations to the five shortlisted firms. We were very impressed with the submissions received and are very happy to partner with Enterprise Ireland on this initiative. The burden of chronic disease is a huge one across aging Western populations, including the Irish population, with diabetes a key area of concern. We see this innovative deployment of technology as a key tool in delivering care closer to home, putting the individual at the centre of the design process, and delivering real benefits for the health service, the firms involved, and most importantly the diabetes patient.”

Avril Copeland of Innerstrength, Phase One Winner said, “We are delighted to have been awarded the SBIR contract, which enables us to work with leading clinicians, academics and patients to identify and develop a much-needed solution to address the growing challenge of Type 2 diabetes. Having received a similar award in the UK in the past (SBRI), we have seen firsthand how this funding for new innovative technologies can deliver benefits for all stakeholders in the healthcare system, most importantly patients.”


About SBIR:

Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) initiative aims to create partnerships between SMEs and public bodies to develop innovative solutions to public needs through competitive Challenges. These Challenges are co-funded by Enterprise Ireland and the relevant public sector body. Since the first Challenges were launched in 2016, the initiative has been gaining traction - 20 Challenges are currently running across contracting authorities nationally.
See www.sbirireland.ie or follow @sbirireland on Twitter for further information.

Challenge 1: Reducing the risk of women developing diabetes following gestational diabetes

Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM) is a global issue which affects 1 in 6 pregnancies globally. The main contributing factors for GDM development are: obesity with 30% of the pregnant population having obesity; rising maternal age and background Type 2 diabetes rates in the population. Of the 130 million global births annually, 21 million are affected by Diabetes of which 17.6 million have GDM. 50% (or 8.8 million) are likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes after 10 years. Through this SBIR support, the HSE are seeking new technology to underpin a comprehensive solution to reduce the proportion of women who progress from gestational diabetes (GDM) to Pre-Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes .

Challenge 2: Screening for diabetic foot disease in all patients with diabetes

Diabetes is a serious global public health issue which has been described as the most challenging health problem in the 21st century. People with diabetes are at serious risk of developing microvascular complications which can result in damage to feet, resulting in loss of sensation, damage to the back of the eye which can lead to blindness and damage to kidneys which can result in kidney failure. Through this SBIR support, the HSE seeks technology to underpin a comprehensive screening programme that would ensure that all patients with diabetes receive annual foot screening for risk factors for foot ulceration.

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Enterprise Ireland

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