Diabetes app targets growth in global need

MyWay Digital Health founder Debbie Wake.
MyWay Digital Health founder Debbie Wake.
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A Dundee healthtech firm looking to “transform” diabetes care with a “banking app” style digital offering is preparing to raise a seven-figure sum to help drive its global growth plans.

MyWay Digital Health was spun out of the University of Dundee in 2017, with its flagship product, My Diabetes My Way, an online platform to help people manage their condition.

It is able to provide electronic health record access, remote glucose monitoring data linkage, and tailored, automated support, and now has about 40,000 registered users in Scotland.

The company’s chief executive, co-founder and chief medical officer, Debbie Wake, told Scotland on Sunday that its offering can be delivered at “really low cost” and help reduce costly complications.

It is estimated the cost of treating diabetes will consume around 17 per cent of the NHS budget by 2025, and up to 2.2 per cent of global GDP by 2030.

Wake, who still works as a diabetes consultant, said the firm’s vision was to “transform diabetes care and improve outcomes”.

The venture, which has about 15 staff and a space in the technology incubator, CodeBase, has also received much interest outside Scotland, for example, securing one of seven NHS Test Beds to bring its platform to Greater Manchester.

The firm is also eyeing Europe, the US and the Middle East, where it plans to launch next year, according to Wake.

She said the company is looking to raise about £5 million which would allow it to significantly scale up and harness global opportunities, for example by getting people on the ground and building its brand in its target overseas markets. “We think that will be enough to take us to that next level in terms of getting this platform to a point that it’s scalable globally,” said Wake.

The immediate objective is to start engaging with investors in the first quarter of 2019. The firm is also keen to team up with others moving into the healthcare space.

To date, MyWay Digital Health has achieved recognition from the likes of the eHealth Adoption Awards, supported by the European Commission, and is one of only 11 UK companies to be chosen for the NHS Innovation Accelerator.

It has also received backing from Converge Challenge, Scottish Edge, and Innovate UK, with the latter having provided nearly £2.5m of grant support.

Wake has been named as one of 20 entrepreneurs to be part of the Scottish Government’s Unlocking Ambition Challenge.

The firm is also considering extending its expertise to help tackle other diseases.

“A lot of what we’ve got can be easily translated… we are starting to gradually look at how we stretch sideways as well as look at the global reach for diabetes.”