BLUEDROP MEDICAL, A Galway-based medtech startup, has secured €3.7 million in funding to help develop a device that detects patients with diabetes who may be developing a foot ulcer.
The company announced it received a €1.2 million seed investment led by Irish angel investor syndicate Halo Business Agents Network (HBAN), which invested alongside Enterprise Ireland and the Western Development Commission.
The remaining €2.5 million was awarded as a grant through the European Innovation Council.
Bluedrop Medical was founded in 2015 by Chris Murphy and Simon Kiersey, who met while they were studying for master’s degrees in biomedical engineering and have since worked in medical device companies.
The company is the latest medtech startup to emerge from Galway’s growing stable – which includes Neuravi, Kite Medical and Loci Orthopaedics.
Speaking to Fora, Murphy said that the funding means Bluedrop Medical will be able to bring the device through its “final stage of product development” and in line with regulatory requirements to meet approval in order to run clinical trials.
He explained that the device is a similar size to a weighing scales and requires the patient to step on it every morning, where it takes a scan of the foot and uses artificial intelligence to alert when skin damage can be seen on the soles of the feet.
“In patients with diabetes, elevated blood glucose levels, causes nerve damage to develop in their legs … and while we notice if we stand on a stone, with (patients who have) nerve damage, there is no feedback to the brain,” Murphy said.
Bringing it to market
Next year, the company intends to carry out clinical trials with the device and then bring it to market. Murphy said the first patients to use the device will mostly likely be based in the UK.
“We have a couple of places that are really interested in taking part and we are hoping to get something set up in Ireland. We have been talking to groups within the HSE and there’s a lot of interest there,” he said.
The company is also looking to other European markets and the US. Murphy estimated that the global market for the device is worth over €3 billion.
Bluedrop Medical also plans to expand its staff from nine to 19 – adding new software developers and employees with expertise in regulatory affairs, clinical trial management and commercial strategy development.
In Ireland, more than 540 amputations are carried out on patients with diabetes every year. The company estimates that the device would save the Irish health service €40 million each year.