EI and the HSE award five firms funding to address challenges related to diabetes

3 Dec 2019

From left: Nicola McDonnell, Jinga Life; Chris Murphy, Bluedrop Medical; and Avril Copeland, Innerstrength. Image: Enterprise Ireland

Funding was awarded to Bluedrop Medical, Innerstrength, Cadscan, Jinga Life and Infocare to develop new innovations that address complications caused by diabetes.

Enterprise Ireland and the Health Service Executive (HSE) have awarded €100,000 in funding to five companies tackling health complications that arise as a result of diabetes. The funding was awarded through Enterprise Ireland’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) programme.

The investment will enable the five SMEs to develop new innovations and technologies to address complications related to diabetes. The specific areas of diabetes that these businesses focus on include reducing the risk of women developing type 2 diabetes following gestational diabetes, and screening for diabetic foot disease.

The Enterprise Ireland and HSE SBIR collaboration was announced in December 2018, with the two organisations coming together with the joint goal of delivering improved patient care through the intelligent use of technology.

The funding recipients 

The successful businesses include Galway’s Bluedrop Medical, which is a start-up that has developed a home-based, remote monitoring screening device for early identification and prevention of diabetic foot ulcers.

UK company Cadscan will also receive funding for its low-cost foot screening tool that can quickly determine a patient’s risk of ulceration.

The other recipients include Innerstrength, which has a platform and multi-disciplinary approach to reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes in women after pregnancy, as well as Infocare, which has developed technology that connects to medical devices to allow point-of-care and at-home testing to be reliably uploaded to a patient’s medical record.

The final firm is Jinga Life, a Dublin-based business that has created a mobile digital health platform to enable users to manage their family’s health information, medical appointments and clinical images.

‘Huge potential’

Julie Sinnamon, chief executive of 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 CIO at the 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 ageing 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.”

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic