Neuropad - a simple, low-cost, test for diabetic foot disease (DFD)

Digital therapeutics and diagnostics specialist Skyrocket Phytopharma is the company behind Neuropad: a simple, low-cost, test for diabetic foot disease (DFD), a condition which results in over 9,800 devastating lower limb amputations each year and costs NHS England more than £1bn a year in direct treatment costs - and they're based in our Harlow Hub.



Neuropad helps catch the signs of DFD early, so patients can get treatment for the condition before it causes painful foot ulcers. In many cases these ulcers can lead to amputations if not medicated correctly.


Based at the Harlow Arise Innovation Hub, Skyrocket Phytopharma is also developing an app which uses the Neuropad test as a biomarker to track the progress of the disease.

John Simpson is CEO and founder of Skyrocket Phytopharma, and says: “Existing tests for DFD only pick up late signs of the disease, and by that time it is irreversible. This is a condition with a five-year mortality rate of 57%, so for a lot of patients it comes with a death sentence.”

Patients can administer Neuropad themselves by sticking the test, which comes in the form of a plaster, on their foot. It delivers a clear result within ten minutes. A photo of the test result can be uploaded to the company’s software platform, Neurometrics, and over time these test results can be used to monitor whether a patient’s condition is improving, is stable or is worsening.

The Neuropad test itself is recommended for use by care homes in the UK. The company plans to seek approval from US regulator the Federal Drug Association (FDA) to market the test and app in America. It could also be used to diagnose other diseases.

Skyrocket Phytopharma is a largely virtual company, and John works with a team of more than 20 contractors around the world. He says the Harlow Arise Innovation Hub is a perfect UK base for the business, which he founded seven years ago.

“We’re in the middle of the life sciences ‘Golden Triangle’ of Oxford, Cambridge and London, and close to Stansted Airport, which is ideal for us as an ambitious biotech company,” he says. “I see the company growing its presence here as we look to the future and seeking FDA approval. It’s a great location for us.”

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