Folium Optics wins £1 million SBRI healthcare funding

Issue date: 20 October 2015

Folium Optics, a start-up company based in the Technology Business Incubator at Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL)has won £1 million funding from SBRI Healthcare to develop “My Health Tags” - a prototype product to help improve medicine adherence. During the next 12 months Folium will develop the technology and carry out the first clinical evaluation.

Up to 50% of prescribed medicines are not used as the prescriber intended. Non-adherence and underuse represent a loss to patients, the healthcare system and society at large - it is a missed opportunity for health improvement and a waste of valuable resources. To address this problem a Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) competition was launched by NHS England in partnership with the Academic Health Science Networks to find innovative products and services.

Folium Optics' solution builds on the Internet of Things – the team has developed a smart electronic tag attached to medicine packaging, and a separate lightweight portable reminder unit. The tag has an 'always-on' vivid display that shows clearly which medicine should be taken and when. The reusable tags are lightweight and robust, will still work if the medication is taken outside the home and can be simply configured by the pharmacist, carer or user. Those entering old age (65-75) will initially be targeted and the system will be developed to work for other groups.

Steve Kitson, CEO of Folium Optics, explains, “The tags are made possible by our plastic display technology - because our displays are very thin, robust and can be any shape. We have built a fully functioning system solution, consisting of tags, reminder unit and the cloud service and apps to connect them together.

“We are delighted to win this funding. It will allow us to take the next step in developing our technology and ultimately to help patients. It's a really tough technical challenge - exactly the sort of project we thrive on at Folium Optics.

“We have brought together a strong team to deliver this project - Pumpco and Designability will help us deliver the technology and the Bristol Heart Institute will lead the clinical evaluation. We're looking forward to working together to develop a solution to help patients.”

The Technology Business Incubator, based in the Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL), is a visionary pilot program to stimulate and support technology start-ups. Working with undergraduate, graduate, post-graduates, staff and partner spinout businesses the incubator provides the BRL with up-to-date and detailed understanding of technology start-up needs and enhances the BRL's creative and entrepreneurial culture. It provides valuable input to courses, research and research exploitation.

Bristol Robotics Laboratory (BRL) is the leading and largest academic centre for multi-disciplinary robotics research in the UK. It is a collaborative partnership between the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) and the University of Bristol, and home to a vibrant community of over 150 academics and industry practitioners, which lead current thinking in service robotics, intelligent autonomous systems and bio-engineering.

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