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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 18, 2017
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EU Funds for Polish Start-Up Company
July 18, 2017   
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An innovative medical company in Poland has been awarded a PLN 7 million (EUR 1.7 million) grant as part of a major European Union program that offers funds for research and innovation. The Polish company will invest the money in what it says is the world’s first device enabling screening tests of sleep and sleep apnea.

Granted under the EU’s EUR 80 billion Horizon 2020 program, the funds will go to Interclinic, a start-up company that first came to public attention three years ago by raising almost USD 500,000 in a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign. The start-up needed the funds to complete work on Neuroon, a smart sleeping mask to probe into the quality of sleep through brain wave analysis. The final product was developed and delivered to all campaign contributors in April 2016.

The Neuroon device has since become an international hit and is selling particularly well in Japan, the United States and Hong Kong.

Interclinic now wants to take its research to the next level by using Neuroon technology to develop a new device for the automated, screening diagnosis of sleep disorders with a focus on sleep apnea. The grant will enable the Polish start-up to run clinical tests and launch mass production.

Now in its second phase, Horizon 2020 is the largest program in EU history to offer grants for research and innovation. The program’s budget is a record EUR 80 billion for 2014-2020. Over 19,000 grant applications have been submitted across the EU so far and notably, Interclinic is the only Polish company to have received a grant this year. The funds for Interclinic were awarded under Horizon 2020’s prestigious SME Instrument, which benefits innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). To date, seven businesses from Poland have received funds under Horizon 2020’s second phase.

Alicja Grzegorek, the founder of the Zafiro Solutions company, which helped Interclinic apply for the grant, says the European Commission appreciated the high potential presented by the Polish invention. “This is a major success in Europe because only around 4 percent of applicants actually win a grant,” says Grzegorek.

According to Interclinic board member Sylwester Biernacki—who is also the CEO and a shareholder of the listed ATM SA company—Interclinic can serve as an example of Poland’s “gigantic potential” to foster start-ups “whose operation could transcend national borders and reach markets in Europe and around the world.”

Sleep apnea, the key area of Interclinic’s research, is a condition where incidents of shallow breathing and pauses in breathing occur repeatedly during sleep. Sleep apnea of clinical significance is found in an estimated 24 percent of the world’s adult male population and 9 percent of all adult women. The figures mean the problem affects around 1.5 million people in Poland. According to Kamil Adamczyk, a physician and managing director of Interclinic, sleep apnea is sometimes manifested through ordinary snoring while it is the hidden consequences that pose the main threat. “Research clearly indicates that sleep apnea increases the risk of conditions such as hypertension, strokes and impotence in men.”

The Interclinic project will run for two years and end with the company going commercial with its research results.

Source: Polish Press Agency
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