Innogest, Invitalia Ventures, Foundation Cottino, with Si14, the current shareholder of the company and managers, have invested €1.5M in D-Eye, a Padua, Italy-based startup that has developed a patented optical device, compatible with most of the smartphones on the market, which allows the examination of the retina using the camera and the lighting system where each device is already equipped.
Born thanks to the intuition of ophthalmologist Andrea Russo, D-Eye is proposed as a platform to revolutionize screening of retina diseases and the follow-up of millions of patients affected by chronic pathologies, making it possible to track, sharing and the compare retinal images collected through a simple smartphone equipped with the optical D-Eye. In addition to the device developed, the D-Eye solution provides the use of a proprietary app and a cloud platform through which the user can manage its own database of images according to the standards of HIPAA security and access sharing services and analysis of the same.
With this solution, D-Eye aims to position itself as a benchmark in the market for ophthalmic diseases - from the Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Macular Degeneration), whose treatment costs each year more than six billion dollars worldwide - a sector hunting innovation at the service of screening, access to care, quality and adequacy of follow-up.
In 2015, with the support of engineering pole Si14 of Padua, the company completed the development of the hardware and initiated the creation of the cloud platform through which services will be provided in support of doctors and patients. The introduction in the next few months of the cloud technology enables complete the D-Eye solution made up today by the device and the app, already bought and tested by over a thousand of doctors worldwide, making it an indispensable tool for professionals who deal daily with illnesses of the retina.
To lead the company is CEO Richard Sill, who has an extensive experience in the corporate sector such as Bausch&Lomb, and later co-founder and CEO of Magellan, one of the first companies to realize GPS satellite navigation dedicated to the consumer market. The operations and research center of D-Eye is based in Italy, Padua, while the commercial and business development are located in the United States, in close contact with the strong demand for innovation in the industry, and numerous clinical studies will be brought out in collaboration with research centers and universities around the world.
D-Eye is the first investment of the Italian Venture I Fund and reflects the fund mission to focus on startups that have a major positive impact on the lives of people and the ambition to grow internationally. The intersection between digital and health is one of the key areas where Italian innovation has the opportunity to express large-scale projects. D-Eye has the potential to play this game.
The market which the D-eye solution addresses is not a niche, as it target itself as a complement to all the other tools already present in clinical ophthalmology and its flexible nature ensures applications also in other contexts. The potentials of doing business that D-Eye looks at translate it into the target (certainly ambitious) to become a benchmark in the field of ophthalmic diseases, starting with macular degeneration, a chronic disease of the retina, whose treatment costs globally more than six billion dollars a year and that in Italy is worth between 400 and 500 million Euros.
The immediate challenge is to integrate mobile services D-Eye in routine activities of all those involved: patients, doctors, health workers, optometrists, pharmaceutical companies and even insurance and bodies public reimbursement. The second step is to make the solution a screening platform and remote monitoring that can also be used in other fields of medicine, from the dermatological to that otorhinolaryngological one. The D-Eye technology, in this sense, allows tracking and sharing of images generated by smartphones through an app (already purchased and tested for over a thousand doctors worldwide) and a cloud system that enable the 'access and analysis of data collected in a dedicated database. In the coming years new financing round are to be expected.