Japanese tech giant invests in North East company

UK-based PolyPhotonix have agreed on OLED panel supply with Tohoku Pioneer Corporation, a consolidated subsidiary of Japanese tech giant Pioneer Corporation to ensure that diabetic patients at risk of losing their sight can continue to receive treatment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company’s OLED Business Unit will provide PolyPhotonix with state-of the-art OLED panels, as a light source that will be integrated into their Noctura 400 sleep mask used to treat Diabetic Retinopathy. The Noctura 400 sleep mask is an innovative non-invasive homecare monitored treatment for the most common cause of blindness in the western world.

Diabetic Retinopathy is a complication of diabetes caused by high blood sugar levels damaging the back of the eye, which can cause blindness if left untreated. The sleep mask designed to be worn at night, delivers a precise dose of light therapy during a patient’s normal hours of sleep in a home setting. The treatment reduces and reverses the effects of Diabetic Retinopathy.

In the UK, diabetes is the second most common underlying condition among COVID-19 patients who have died, of which 35% had the illness. Government advice is that patients in high risk categories should not go to hospital.

This means that patients previously receiving hospital treatment for diabetic eye disease are risking their sight, as many clinics have been cancelled due to the pandemic. Unlike other treatments such as laser intervention or eye injections, the Noctura 400 sleep mask can be used remotely in the patient’s home and doesn’t require a hospital visit.

The Noctura 400 treatment delivers proven results, with 94% of patients in a recent UK National Health Service hospital evaluation experiencing stabilisation and improvement in their condition after using the sleep mask. Following the success of Noctura 400 in UK, PolyPhotonix has plans to break into the Japanese market by taking the device through its regulatory approval system.

Richard Kirk, Chief Executive of PolyPhotonix said: “We are delighted to be working with Tohoku Pioneer who will be supporting our OLED requirements for Noctura 400 global volume growth’’. Together we can continue to save people’s sight during and after the pandemic. Current treatments for diabetic retinopathy are expensive, take up clinician’s time and require regular hospital visits. Our sleep mask can be used by patients at home, reducing the pressure on frontline hospital services and delivering cost savings.”

Masatoshi Yamaki, Director for Organic EL Business at Tohoku Pioneer, commented: “Tohoku Pioneer will supply state-of-the-art OLED panels to be the light source in the Noctura 400, PolyPhotonix’s sleep mask to treat diabetic retinopathy. We hope the use of our OLED panels in PolyPhotonix’s sleep mask, Noctura 400, will contribute to the treatment of people with this condition.”