OKKO Health, a Bristol-based startup that creates eye health self-monitoring apps, recently announced the close of a pre-seed round of £2 million to support the launch of its eye health monitoring app in Germany.

Dieter von Holtzbrinck Ventures (DvH Ventures), based in Cologne, Germany, led the round with money from its Digital Health Fund. The health-tech company, founded in 2018 by Dr. Stephanie Campbell, has created a variety of sight-monitoring apps with an emphasis on macular degeneration monitoring.

In developed countries, macular illness is the main factor contributing to vision loss. Over 1.5 million people in the UK alone are impacted. The apps from OKKO enable users to self-monitor their health via a straightforward interactive smartphone game. When played frequently, the game can alert doctors and patients to alterations in visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, distortion, and color vision. These facts serve as indicators for clinical action.

By utilizing AI in the form of machine learning algorithms, the money will promote the development of new aggregate datasets, offering the potential to understand better how to target therapies for macular degeneration. The ultimate goal is to protect vision and make precision ophthalmology a reality.

The business produced a CE-marked product in collaboration with the UK’s The Macular Society and Innovate UK. Various clinical partners are currently piloting the app in the UK after undergoing beta testing, being verified through numerous academic and clinical investigations.

Through research in hospitals and clinics, its introduction in Germany will make it possible to gather market data for national reimbursement, a novel feature of the German healthcare system.

“This money will support a crucial foothold in the German healthcare sector, a key step in our global growth,” said Dr. Stephanie Campbell, founder, and CEO of OKKO Health. We move a step closer to realizing our goal of protecting our most priceless sense by putting preventative eye care in the hands of everyone worldwide.

Regarding the funding, Fabian von Trotha from DvH Ventures said: “OKKO is a completely new approach to testing sight; it doesn’t just mimic the eye chart on a smartphone. Additionally, the team has made remarkable progress thus far, which is in part a result of its clinical background.”

Fabian further added, “Dr. Stephanie Campbell, the founder of OKKO, has experience in both clinical and visual science, which provides her a comprehensive, first-hand understanding of the market that is extremely relevant in the field of digital health.”

The co-founder and CMO of Ada Health and chair of the OKKO Board, Dr. Claire Novorol, added: “This fundraising round puts OKKO one step closer to our vision of patient empowerment and precision ophthalmology. The technology allows for proactive monitoring and strategic administration of medications, including the popular anti-VEGF medicines.”

He continued, “For people with macular degeneration, pharmaceutical treatment frequently comes too late. The frequency of measurements can be significantly increased by literally putting monitoring in the hands of the patients, producing early warning signals for therapy.”

Image Credit: OKKO Health


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