Why would patients veto a device that can monitor glucose levels without the need for blood? Because they had to put the device in their ear. Though technically non-invasive, focus groups found the process unappealing.
So the company that proposed the unfortunate device went back to the drawing board and came up with something new, something promising for those who are sick of daily fingerpricks.
Integ, Inc., formerly InoMet, of Roseville, Minn., is developing a blood glucose monitor that tests not blood, but body water. Since water is present just beneath the skin, the procedure is minimally invasive, not penetrating deep enough to draw blood or touch nerves.
The product, tentatively called Easy Test System, has a solid list of investors interested in funding research, and at this point Integ has about $27.4 million to work with. Though it sounds like a lot, a minimum of $27 million is usually required to get a medical device on the market. MediSense, one of the larger blood glucose meter companies, raised $100 million before it launched its product.
“But [the money we have] will get us into the market,” said Mark Knudson, chairman of Integ. “I’m sure we’ll have to raise more money once we want to expand the product. Although we have no formal time line, an initial public offering is high on our list of considerations.”
Integ is fortunate because the interest of investors is high-the blood glucose meter market is projected to grow 15% annually until the year 2000.
Carol Winslow, an analyst with Vector Securities in Deerfield, Ill., which handled Integ’s most recent private placement says, “We looked at all the competitors and no one is as non-invasive as Integ. I think Integ has the next step in technology.”