Scottish technology firm Bioliberty has secured £2.2 million in funding to develop a unique soft robotic glove which can restore upper limb mobility in patients following a stroke.
The funding round was led by Archangels, the world's longest running business angel investment syndicate, with participation from Eos Advisory, Old College Capital and Hanna Capital SEZC.
The Edinburgh-based business has created the Lifeglov – a soft robotic glove which offers rehabilitation for both the closing and opening strength of the hand. The glove monitors key metrics related to upper limb mobility and can show improvement as the patient progresses through their rehab.
The Lifeglov is accompanied by a Digital Therapy Platform, which provides the patient with tailored exercises to help develop natural hand strength. For stroke survivors, the glove helps carry out rehabilitation from the home. For Occupational Therapists, the glove is a tool to help manage their patients remotely and improve patient outcomes.
The new funding will allow Bioliberty to complete development of the trial product and finalise the development of its platform. The funding is also anticipated to fund the business through obtaining FDA approval and early commercial engagement in the US with rehabilitation clinics.
In the US alone, there are more than 800,000 strokes every year, with 88% of patients left with upper limb weakness. At the same time, there is an urgent need for at-home occupational therapy services, with demand for such services forecast to outpace the supply within all 50 states of the US by 2030.
Bioliberty’s Lifeglov provides a solution and its use of soft robotics in rehabilitation, which is currently unique in the market, means the product is more pliable, comfortable and complementary to the upper arm whilst also generating useful data related to stroke recovery.
The initial application is in the upper limb rehabilitation market, but it is anticipated that the technology will have a broad range of clinical applications including lower limb.
The business was co-founded in 2020 by Rowan Armstrong (CEO), Conan Bradley (Chief Design), Ross O’Hanlon (CTO) and Shea Quinn (COO) and currently employs a team of 7.
Rowan Armstrong, CEO at Bioliberty, said: “Our aim at Bioliberty is to empower every human to live a longer independent life by providing assistive robotics and rehabilitative technologies. The Lifeglov is a first step on this journey and the funding announced today will allow us to complete its development, along with our software platform, while preparing the runway for our US sales push. We’re confident in our technology and excited by the benefits it can deliver for both patients and occupational therapists.”
Niki McKenzie, Joint Managing Director at Archangels, said: “Bioliberty has developed a highly effective solution for helping patients with hand weakness, with the potential to improve the quality of life for millions worldwide. We believe its technology has far-reaching benefits beyond this first application, providing the business with an excellent opportunity to grow quickly from its base here in Scotland. Archangels is excited to be supporting the team as they finalise what we hope will be the first of many products and start scaling up their sales activity.”