Medtech firm secures six-figure grant

A Sheffield medical technology start-up company has secured a £234,000 grant from the government to further develop its wearable medical device.

The £234,000 has gone to SleepCogni, which has developed a wearable medical device that provides behavioural treatment for insomnia. The firm has again been backed by the Government’s Innovate UK agency following an earlier award in the Open program in 2017.

SleepCogni’s new grant, from the Biomedical Catalyst scheme, will fund more research into how to improve sleep in people who have insomnia. The money will allow the business to further develop its wearable medical device by optimising its active-biofeedback technology to help patients self-manage their insomnia.

SleepCogni has put together an algorithm, which provides patients with cues guiding them towards sleep and relaxation. The technology helps focus patients’ attention, while reducing worrying thoughts, allowing patients to relax and go to sleep.

The project will be run in collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, led by Dr Lambros Lazuras and Dr Antonia Ypsilanti from the Department of Psychology, Sociology and Politics.

The research will fine tune SleepCogni’s active-biofeedback algorithms and AI software with data collected from 80 insomnia sufferers. And the project will support the first steps towards obtaining the necessary regulatory requirements for the wearable medical device.

Lazuras said “Sleep is vital both to our mental and physical health. As mental health experts we need to find ways to help people improve their sleep quality, especially those with sleep problems.”

Ypsilanti said: “Our new project will allow to us to evaluate the effectiveness of an innovative AI-based treatment of sleep problems in people with insomnia and, accordingly, inform clinical practice.”

SleepCogni CEO, Richard Mills, said: ‘It is great to again receive funding from Innovate UK for a key part of our Research and Development.

“In addition, the recognition we received from Innovate UK and from the independent experts that assessed our application, strengthens our resolve to materialise our vision for a solution to insomnia through our technology.

“This award comes at a great time, as we are looking to raise new investment for the next phase of our business.’