Angels back diabetic aid eye-scanner

ANGEL investors have raised £400,000 to support a Scottish company that is helping to prevent blindness in millions of diabetes sufferers.

Epipole hopes to revolutionise detection of diabetic retinopathy. Picture: Getty
Epipole hopes to revolutionise detection of diabetic retinopathy. Picture: Getty

Epipole, based in Rosyth, will use the investment to develop a prototype of its hand-held eye-scanning camera and take it to market.

It is the first portable and affordable camera capable of diagnosing diabetic retinopathy – a condition responsible for two million cases of preventable blindness worldwide.

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This is also the first major deal for newly launched Scottish angel syndicate, Lancaster Capital. One of its investors, Hector Cameron, privately invested an initial £55,000 in Epipole. The syndicate opened to new members in February and ten of those contributed towards this latest investment.

Craig Robertson, 45, the managing director and founder of Epipole, has patented his device, and believes it will revolutionise detection of diabetic retinopathy, particularly in India and other developing nations.

He said: “In the UK we are lucky as we have gold standard healthcare, but in less developed countries this is a huge issue as it is one of the nastiest parts of the diabetes condition and leads to blindness that could easily be prevented through early intervention.

“We are now on target to go from an idea to reality in three years, which is exceptionally fast and wouldn’t have happened without the investment from Lancaster Capital.”

Cameron said: “Epipole is a fantastic example of exactly the type of investment we want to make in young Scottish companies.

“Craig’s done a great job getting to this position, but there is still a long way to go and we are delighted to be supporting him as takes the product to the commercial stage.”

Robertson came up with the idea of the camera after working in the field of retinal imaging.