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Azul Optics

Azul Optics

Azul Optics has developed a new technology to assess the amount of macular pigment present in the eye. A low level of macular pigment can indicate a higher risk of blindness from Age­‐related Macular Degeneration (AMD). In the UK alone, AMD affects more than 600,000 people and is estimated to cost the healthcare system £1.6 billion annually. Our device, the MP-eye, is designed for optometrists and enables them to identify people who are at increased risk early so that they can be empowered to take preventative actions such as wearing protective eyewear and hats, quitting smoking, improved diet and or supplements and increased fitness, all of which can reduce the risks of going blind later in life.

Azul Optics

FACT FILE

Start date: 2015

Website: Visit website

Location: Bristol

Employees: 3

SETsquared programme: Innovation to Commercial Realisation (ICURe)

SETsquared support received: ICURe grant, events, market research, networking

Investment raised: Innovate UK Grant £500k; Private funding £310k

KEY MILESTONES

December 2015

Started on ICURe Programme

October 2016

Innovate UK funding

April 2017

Private investment funding

May 2017

Named BBSRC Innovator of the Year

March 2018

MP-eye Registered as class 1 medical device

May 2018

Product given to opticians and first sales made

October 2018

UK distributor signed on and distributors in 20 other countries engaged

“The ICURe Programme drives you to develop a business plan at an early stage. This is so useful, as it accelerates your thinking beyond academia, which is mainly based around the technology. This is combined with the intensive market research; over the course of four months I spoke to 105 people from across five countries, which enables you to quickly understand if there is a market for your product.”

“During this period, I actually made a significant pivot to my business model. I had initially conceived that my device would be available in doctors waiting rooms for people to undertake the test themselves, but the feedback I got from the marketplace was that this wasn’t a good idea. They felt that people wouldn’t understand the results and would actually be left without support if the results showed increased risk. It was at this point that I changed my business model to target optometrists – as it would be better for eyecare professionals to adopt the technology first.”

“The device is all about empowering patients to make lifestyle changes now to improve their vision and protect their eyes throughout life to reduce their risk of losing their sight later in life.”

“The future for us is looking very bright. We are looking ahead to further rounds of funding later this year to allow us to increase production and start developing other products using new technologies.”

Dr Shelby Temple, CEO
Azul Optics

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