Bulbitech AS, a Norwegian medical technology SME established in 2015, strives to introduce a paradigm shift in neuro-ophthalmic care by producing and providing a diagnostic supporting solution for detecting neuro-ophthalmic diseases at an early stage. In more detail, Bulbitech aims to automate and digitise eye examination tests, making screening for neuro-ophthalmic diseases accurate, reliable, intuitive, cost-effective and accessible. Neuro-ophthalmic diseases are an emerging public health concern and can be defined as vision disorders related to the nervous system, including affected ocular muscles and reduced eye movement. In addition, advanced ocular imaging technologies can early on detect widespread neurological diseases like Parkinson, Alzheimer and ADHD. Altogether, such paradigm shift significantly improves the quality of care as well as quality of life for patients, allows health care professionals to be more precise and efficient, and reduces the economic burden on health care systems.
In June 2021, Bulbitech received 14.175M NOK in grant from the Research Council of Norway (Forskningsrådet) to further validate, commercialize and develop Bulbitech technology. The innovative diagnostic support device developed and patented by Bulbitech involves the BulbiCAM and BulbiHUB, which are used by universities and medical centres around Norway. More detailed, BulbiCAM is an eye-tracking device for multiple and rapid eye examination tests, whereas BulbiHUB is a software platform that assesses the data measured by BulbiCAM. In their own words, “our technology maintains a good vision and cognitive health across a lifetime”. The funds received from the Research Council of Norway was granted for a project collaboration with Oslo University Hospital, Helgelandssykehuset and Meddoc AS. The project, called BulbiEYE, primarily aims to expand the eye examination tests available in BulbiCAM and consequently the data assessed by BulbiHUB. In other words, the main objective of BulbiEYE is to position BulbiCAM as a diagnostic support tool for early detection of neuro-ophthalmic diseases, creating the paradigm shift.
This grant was retrieved via the Innovation Project for the Industrial Sector (IPN) funding programme and the application was coordinated by Innovayt on behalf of Bulbitech. With the IPN funding programme, the Research Council of Norway aims to encourage companies to invest more in R&D activities that can promote innovation and thereby improve opportunities for sustainable economic growth and enhanced competitiveness. Hence, IPN is a funding opportunity for company-driven projects that incorporate extensive R&D activities.
Dennis Hens, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Bulbitech, comments on the collaboration by stating: “Bulbitech was approached by Innovayt after winning the Oslo Innovation Week 2020. Innovayt did a good job on identifying the stage Bulbitech was in and immediately proposed two possible grant application options. After an initial introduction call, they presented their track record and application plan. Innovayt advised Bulbitech to apply for an IPN research & development grant with the Norwegian Research Council as they thought Bulbitech would have a good chance. We were not disappointed as Bulbitech, after a satisfactory grant application process with experienced consultants, managed to close a 14.175M NOK grant. Innovayt lived up to their presented expectations with experienced consultants and a streamlined application process”.