A disruptive technology for monitoring type 2 diabetes is being developed in a transatlantic joint venture. Wireless sensor company Gentag (Washington, DC) and the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, MN), which have a long-standing partnership, have joined forces with NovioSense (Nijmegen, Netherlands) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS; Duisburg, Germany) to develop a mobile-phone based platform for low-cost, disposable, pain-free diabetes monitoring. Noviosense brings its proprietary, battery-free, near field communication (NFC) sensor and coating chemistries to the project, and Fraunhofer contributes its advanced sensor and chip design expertise. The technology delivers real-time, cloud-based readings to caregivers via disposable sensors and NFC-enabled smartphones, which would replace conventional glucometers.
The joint venture is covered by 75 patents and significantly reduces the cost of diabetes monitoring. Development will be carried out simultaneously on both sides of the Atlantic by NovioSense and Gentag, in concert with the diabetes teams from Mayo Clinic and the sensor and NFC teams of Fraunhofer IMS.
Type 2 diabetes has been described as a global epidemic that is overwhelming healthcare systems worldwide. More than 382 million people are estimated to suffer from diabetes, according to the International Diabetes Federation, 90% of whom are considered to be type 2 diabetics. More than eight of every 10 diabetes-related deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries.
"We want to make pain-free glucose monitoring available to everyone independent of their socioeconomic status. It is only by increasing awareness and by making monitoring simple and affordable that we can hope to push back the tidal wave," said NovioSense CEO Dr. Christopher Wilson in a news release. "By creating a device powered only by the NFC antennas found in most modern smartphones, and combining this with a pain-free sensor platform, we can cut the cost and burden of glucose monitoring dramatically."
The combined technology can be implemented for any diabetes application. The technology and patents will be licensed, sold or co-developed with a large global partner under a deal to be negotiated by Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International. He has been working with Gentag and the Mayo Clinic Ventures team since the project's inception and will negotiate terms along with Bruce Kline of Mayo Clinic Ventures.