Eye test firm secures funding

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SACCADE Diagnostics, a spin-out company from Aberdeen University, has tonight secured 5,000 euros (£4,000) of investment following a series of Dragons’ Den-style pitches.

The firm beat off competition from companies in Belgium, England, Germany and Ireland to receive the funding through the Converge Challenge Open Innovation competition.

The contest, which took place today at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, involved firms pitching their business ideas to a panel of judges.

“Open innovation” involves companies collaborating with each other and bodies such as universities to develop products and services.

In September, Saccade secured £60,000 from Converge Challenge, the largest business competition and entrepreneurial training programme in Scotland, run by Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Saccade has been set up to commercialise an eye-movement test developed at Aberdeen University to help doctors identify illnesses such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression.

Philip Benson, a senior lecturer in psychology, and Professor David St Clair, chair of mental health at the university, developed the test, which is now being commercialised by Madhu Nair, a technology entrepreneur and Saltire Fellow with experience in developing early-stage opportunities in the software and life science sectors in the UK and the United States.