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A smartwatch with needle free glucose monitoring feature is here, gets $20.5M funding

GraphWear has now announced to have secured $20.5M in Series B funding. The round was led by Mayfield and it also saw participation from MissionBio Capital, Builders VC and VSC Ventures.
GraphWear
Image Credits: GraphWear

Living with diabetes, sometimes necessitates the injection of insulin regularly — a painful but necessary ritual.  Furthermore, it is thought that some patients do not appropriately treat their ailment because they are afraid of needles. Hence, medical device businesses are increasingly seeking new ways to provide medicine to individuals who need it.

Previously, the traditional methods of monitoring chronic illnesses were uncomfortable, inconvenient, and expensive for those who needed constant access to their health information.

Picture this, around 1% of the world’s 450 million diabetics have access to a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), which allows them to track blood sugar levels in real-time. Still, the existing needle-based approach prompts many people with diabetes to stop monitoring thoroughly.

Going by the research of the  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 26.9M persons of all ages in the United States were diagnosed with diabetes in 2018. As per the CDC, 1.4 million persons aged 20 and up have Type 1 diabetes and take insulin. This is the group that uses continuous glucose monitoring the most.

In order to counter this problem, there is a continuous attempt to make a glucose monitor that would not require regular fingersticks. That’s where GraphWear comes into the picture as it is a company that pursues needle-free glucose monitoring.

The startup has now announced to have secured $20.5M in Series B funding. The round was led by Mayfield and it also saw participation from MissionBio Capital, Builders VC and VSC Ventures.

The proceeds will help the platform get through clinical trials and continue to evolve as a disease management platform that can be expanded. In addition to that, GraphWear is eyeing expansion and it plans to do hiring across the board.

The funding will also hasten the platform’s development and deployment for diabetes, heart disease, and cancer detection. The company had earlier raised $25M from investors like Mayfield, MissionBio Capital, Builders VC and VSC Ventures.

The Technology Behind Needle Free Approach 

GraphWear’s wearable sensor uses nanotechnology to measure molecules like glucose on the surface of the skin. It then gives an accurate read of glucose levels using as little as a few 100 glucose molecules. The company claims that this is done painlessly, without breaking the skin, and with no needle, extraction or lab processing. 

This technology provides insight into one’s health, further helping patients and clinicians to needless testing, the company said in a press note.

“With GraphWear, we’ve sought to design a non-invasive solution, with low power requirements and a small form factor that opens up potential for monitoring health on a global scale,” explained President and co-founder Rajatesh Gudibande. “Through our partnership with world-class investors like Mayfield, we’re entering a new phase of development, to support patient lives and reinvent the way we understand and monitor health overall.”

The Needle Free Glucose Monitor

Founded by Rajatesh Gudibande and Saurabh Radhakrishnan in 2015, GraphWear helps  diagnose and monitor chronic conditions without any blood or urine test. It further helps in monitoring glucose levels without any needles.

The idea germinated when Gudibande contracted malaria while attending college in rural India, but due to a lack of access to lab facilities, he was misdiagnosed and had limited treatment options. This inspired him to design a new system after recognising the enormous disparities in healthcare caused by inaccessibility. 

Currently, GraphWear is undergoing clinical trials for its first application: diabetes glucose monitoring. The technology has the ability to monitor cholesterol levels for heart disease and perhaps discover indicators for cancer, in addition to diabetes.

GraphWear’s wearable sensor sends real-time alerts; monitors health continuously and also captures historical health data.

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