£500,000 grant for Sheffield company’s ‘game changing’ sleep aid invention

From left: Dr Ash Patel, Paul Ironmonger, Dr Maan Van de Werken, Richard Mills, Steve Thomas, Phil Whaley and  Mark Long.
From left: Dr Ash Patel, Paul Ironmonger, Dr Maan Van de Werken, Richard Mills, Steve Thomas, Phil Whaley and Mark Long.
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A Sheffield inventor who developed a hi-tech sleep aid device is waking up to a huge financial boost - a grant of almost £500,000 from the Government.

Richard Mills’ firm will plough the funds into clinical trials of the SleepCogni ahead of it going on sale in 2019.

He developed the device after suffering insomnia. It features a hoop on an arm over the bed and produces sounds and light patterns designed to send people to sleep. It also has ‘patented personal and dynamic biofeedback’.

Innovate UK, a government agency, made the grant to help tackle the ‘global insomnia epidemic’.

It comes after a £485,000 investment by Mercia Fund management in October.

Mr Mills, chief executive of SleepCogni, said: “We are making some amazing progress and I’m really excited.

“I suffered from insomnia for over a decade. Sleep is pretty complex and unique to the sufferer but there is some clear science that you need to understand to build the bigger picture.

“Our company may be creating the perfect clinical, personalised algorithm to help the user wind down and sleep better. More importantly, SleepCogni allows the user to manage their own insomnia.”

The firm is based at the Kroto Innovation Centre, part of Sheffield University.

Clinical trials, with both Sheffield universities, will involve 150 subjects over 1,490 nights.

They start later this year and are set to complete in 2018, with products on sale from the 2019 ‘after further fundraising’.

In making the grant, Innovate UK stated: ‘If the project is successful, SleepCogni could have a significant impact on a large proportion of the population – both economic and social.

‘The potential benefits could be relevant across a wide section of society’.

Dr Maan Van de Werken, chief scientific officer, added: “We are very excited about our current progress in research and development.”

Dr Ash Patel, of Mercia, said: “We are excited to be supporting what could potentially be a game changing patented technology. This is a global issue that is crying out for a clinical solution.”