Sheffield, UK-based startup Fyous has opened a third seed funding round for its medically focused custom-fit footwear.

Fyous, named 2022 Startup of the Year, has already received more than £600,000 in funding, and is seeking a further £1m to accelerate the growth of its diabetes footwear.

Diabetic foot ulcers are a common complication of diabetes, and the NHS spends £1bn a year on diabetic foot care. There are currently 4.9 million diabetics in the UK and this is predicted to increase to 5.5 million by 2030.

Custom shoes for diabetics cost approximately £700 on the NHS whereas Fyous claims it can mass-manufacture at a third of this price. The company, currently valued at £10m, is eyeing up clinical trials in NHS trusts. Inclusion of the technology for diabetic care on the NHS would follow trends of increased quality of care for diabetic patients in a landscape where quality offsets costs.

The startup aims to also bring direct-to-consumer accessibility to diabetes patients. A dedicated mobile app can scan each foot which is used as a data framework to create custom footwear.

According to the company, the timeline for production is days (as opposed to a 2-3 month wait via the NHS). Wait times for footwear are unavoidable but have sub-optimum clinical consequences.  An ulcer that is not able to be treated fast enough could lead to amputation, at which point there is a 5-year 70% mortality rate.

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“Current manufacturing techniques mean that a patient can have a waiting period of a few months before they are provided with bespoke provision and any wait period could lead to re-ulceration of the patient” said Sarah Crossland, Orthotist of the Diabetic Limb Salvage Service at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust. 

“Around 50% of this funding will be spent on capital equipment to allow us to expand our product capabilities at our factory in Sheffield. 30% will be spent of staff and the rest covering other business overheads while we complete clinical trials and grow revenues to a self-sustaining point,” said Thomas Bloomfield, co-founder and COO of Fyous, speaking to Medical Device Network.

Fyous already has a partnership with Devices for Dignity and is actively seeking contacts at Diabetes UK.