Parkinson’s is a progressive neurological condition affecting around 145,000 people in the UK (1). It is the fastest growing neurological condition in the world (1). It is caused by a loss of nerve cells in part of the brain called the substantia nigra which leads to a reduction of dopamine in the brain (2). The reduction in dopamine is responsible for many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, including involuntary shaking of parts of the body, slow movement, stiffness and inflexible muscles (2).
The symptoms of Parkinson’s usually begin gradually and worsen over time as the condition develops. As symptoms progress it can become increasingly difficult to carry out everyday activities without assistance (3). There is currently no cure for Parkinson’s, but treatments can help reduce symptoms and maintain quality of life for as long as possible.
CUE1 is a wearable, non-invasive device developed by Charco Neurotech (Charco) for people with Parkinson’s. It uses a quiet electric motor to produce vibrotactile stimulation in a specialized pattern to reduce symptoms of slowness and stiffness. CUE1 has minimal side effects and can be used alongside usual medication.
CUE1 has huge potential to improve the quality of life for people with Parkinson’s and Health Innovation East has been supporting Charco since April 2020.
Due to launch in September 2021, Charco had 1,200 private orders from consumers waiting for the launch, but the company had no access to NHS market. Health Innovation East supported CUE1’s route-to-market journey, providing one-to-one support to commericalise their product as well as helping the Charco team to understand the critical importance of a health economic evaluation in securing a place in the NHS supply chain.
Health Innovation East also put Charco in touch with experts to build an evidence base to work towards a NICE submission and conducted a business development workshop to help Charco to understand and agree patient segmentation to deliver both patients and the NHS the most value. The workshop highlighted several parameters that proved important in securing evidence to significantly support and align with NHS strategic priorities. Health Innovation East has since worked with Charco to develop a budget impact model to clearly demonstrate the cost saving of CUE1 for the NHS.
To continue to access the healthcare system Health Innovation East is supporting Charco to develop a robust carbon reduction plan that will enable Charco to meet the requirements of the NHS net zero supplier roadmap, in support of the NHS’s net zero targets.
Tina, a CUE1 user, said
“I might not be able to run a marathon but [CUE1] gives me that boost which enables me to do the everyday tasks that are important to me”.
1,700 people are now benefiting from the device in the UK and over 17,000 people worldwide are on the waiting list to access it. As a result of Health Innovation East helping to build the relationship between Dr Alistair Mackett, consultant geriatrician, Cambridge University Hospitals, and Charco, in April 2023 Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, became the first hospital in the world to trial the device on inpatients with Parkinson’s, allowing patients to better participate in therapy and supporting them to go home sooner (4).
Lucy Jung, CEO, Charco Neurotech, said
“We have worked closely with patients with Parkinson’s to develop CUE1 and we are continually talking to them to make the product better. We’ve seen the difference the device can make and we are grateful to Health Innovation East for their support in helping to commercialise CUE1 and access the NHS market so that we can bring back smiles to people living with Parkinson’s.”
To find out more and how Health Innovation East can support you, please contact Joanna Dempsey, Commercial Enterprise Lead at Health Innovation East, firstname.lastname@example.org.
(4) CUH article
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