Non-invasive glucose monitoring a realistic assessment
It’s not often that a company involved in the quest to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor gives up. This is a space where the motto is “If at first you don’t succeed, go out and raise more money and keep trying.” Although no one has been successful in bringing a truly non-invasive glucose monitor to market and the list of those who have tried and failed is long and distinguished, millions of dollars continue to flow into the coffers of these companies.
As Diabetic Investor mentioned yesterday in our comments on NIR Diagnostics (TSX Venture: NID) many still see non-invasive glucose monitoring as the “Holy Grail”. Lifescan, a unit of Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), is just the latest big company to throw money into the quest. While it’s too early to tell if NIR will succeed where so many have failed, one should consider what happened at Fovioptics.
Fovi Optics was a medical device company looking to develop a non-invasive glucose monitor that will quickly read blood glucose levels by shining a light into a patient’s eye. Frazier Healthcare and Technology Ventures, Delphi Ventures, InterWest Partners and Versant Ventures, all well respected venture capital firms poured nearly $20 million into Fovi Optics. Besides a rather unique approach to non-invasive monitoring the company had a top tier management team with vast experience in the diabetes medical device arena.
Unfortunately like so many who have entered this space they tried and failed nothing unusual here. What makes Fovi Optics unusual is they realized that in spite of their best efforts they would not achieve their goal and instead of trying to raise more money they actually returned almost $18 million to their investors. Integrity is rare in the world of non-invasive glucose monitoring and the management team of Fovi Optics should be congratulated for their honesty and integrity. Most other companies would have continued to bilk investors with the promise that with just a few millions more they would achieve their goal.
There is a lesson here for anyone looking to invest in non-invasive glucose monitoring; “It is better to be thought a fool, then to open one’s mouth (or in this case open one’s wallet) and remove all doubt.”