Bedwetting is a prevalent and distressing problem affecting 1.1 million people in the UK. Although traditionally thought of as a problem that children grow out of, National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines highlight that children still bedwetting over the age of 5 should be provided treatment. As a result, the NHS has set up children’s continence services in each county, which are highly over-subscribed, with waiting lists of up to a year. However, Current treatment strategies do not address user needs and come at a significant economic cost to parents (£1300 per year for a single child) and the NHS (£400/yr/child). This translates to a total need cost of around £1.85 billion/yr in the UK and £4.5 billion/yr in the US. We are developing a unique device that can empower children to take control of their bladder. Compared to the current leading solution (moisture detecting alarms) our device will be able to wake users before they wet their bed protecting their dignity and mitigating the need for diapers and medication.
We have a multi-disciplinary team with clinical, research, engineering and business experience. The founders were selected through a competitive process as fellows of the Oxford Biodesign Programme and have undergone intensive training in clinical need finding and translating that to a commercial solution. Additionally, we have an advisory board made up of experienced University of Oxford academics in the areas of radar, entrepreneurship and sleep. We are also working closely with paediatric incontinence charities and leading clinicians in the area.
Academic research has shown that the social and psychological burden of bed-wetting is highest on teenagers and resultantly, we will be targeting this as our initial market. Although in terms of numbers this is a small market (80,000 in the UK), they have the highest motivation to seek a solution and therefore are likely to be early adopters. This demographic is also active on social media and therefore can act as influencers to promote our device. Following on from this, we expect the device to be taken up by parents of younger children who wet their bed at least 3 times/week as they have a high spending on diapers. This amounts to 200,000 people in the UK and 1.2 million in US. After addressing the bedwetting market, it is possible to expand to other segments of the £9billion incontinence market such as individuals with spinal cord injuries, continence care in hospitals and nursing homes.
The team is fully funded until November 2019 by which point we aim to have a proof-of-principle product in place. Following this, the team will be applying for an Innovate UK Smart Grant for £300,000 which will require an additional £150,000 in match funding from an investor with the aim of having a working protype in place by November 2020. At this point, a further 1.2 million will be required to refine the prototype and bring the product to market.
What are you pitching for?
The team is looking for applying for an Innovate UK Smart Grant for £300,000 which will require an additional £150,000 as match funding for an Innovate UK application. The work plan resulting from this grant includes creating a benchtop prototype, patent filing and initiating CE marking process. We would be looking for mentors/partners to help with this.