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Azul Optics: Protecting against blue light damage

Azul Optics: Protecting against blue light damage

Azul Optics has developed a new technology to assess our eye’s natural protection against harmful blue light and oxidative damage (macular pigment density). 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 £1.6bn annually. Its 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, improving diet and or taking supplements and increasing fitness, all of which can reduce the risks of going blind later in life.

Azul Optics: Protecting against blue light damage


Start date: 2016

Website: Visit website

Location: Bristol

Employees: 3

Innovation to Commercialisation of University Research (ICURe)

Funding: Grants: £500k; Equity: £520k


December 2015

Started on ICURe Programme

October 2016

Innovate UK funding received

April 2017

Private investment funding received

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

December 2018

CE marking of the product obtained

January 2020

Trials with global partners begin

January 2021

£1m sales pipeline

February 2021

Private investment funding received

April 2023

Looking to sell the company

“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.”

“ICURe afforded me a very large number of the connections and networks that have been important to different parts of our business in different ways. Some of them have become distributors, some of them are key opinion leaders and the first users of the device in their practices. Some of these connections also continue to be helpful advisors today.”

“We went from med tech company concept to breakeven within four years, which is relatively unheard of, so we’re very proud of our successes. However, the impacts of COVID were longer lasting than we expected. The long sales cycle meant the impact of two years without attending trade shows led to a dramatic decrease in sales in 2022.”

“Around that time, we were approached by a company in Italy who wanted to acquire us. We realised we have a good product; we’ve developed the software and the product itself, we have evidenced that it performs well in the market, i.e. it helps patients, it helps optometrists sell more products, and helps adjust behaviour. But we don’t have recurring revenue model.”

“Having achieved what we set out to do and accomplished all that we can with the technology, and without a recurring revenue to justify long term investment and maintain a profitability in the future, we have decided to sell the company and pass the baton to someone who can drive the business forward.”

Dr Shelby Temple

Dr Shelby Temple, CEO
Azul Optics

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