The Dream That Never Dies
Years ago it seemed as though there were hundreds of companies seeking to develop a truly non-invasive glucose monitor. The theory was that by taking away “painful” finger sticks patients would monitor their glucose levels on a regular basis. At the time the conventional glucose monitoring was growing at mid-double digits and everyone assumed that a non-invasive monitor would be the “Holy Grail” of BGM and dominate the market. Development money flowed into these companies as venture firms believed they would see outstanding returns for any company that successfully developed and brought to market such a system.
Some recall the famous “GlucoWatch” the first such system to receive FDA approval. Many hailed the GlucoWatch as a product that would revolutionize glucose monitoring. It didn’t seem to matter all that much that the product really didn’t work that well as everyone was drinking the non-invasive kool-aid. Today the GlucoWatch joins a long and distinguished list of non-invasive products that have come and gone with no commercial success.
For some time it seemed as if non-invasive development had ground to a halt as BGM companies settled on alternate site testing as the next best thing. Billed as virtually painless once again we heard a loud chorus of people touting how alternate site testing would revolutionize glucose monitoring. Once again this latest glucose monitoring innovation did little to increase average testing frequency.
With today’s announcement that Freedom Meditech has competed the second round of their Series A financing shows that non-invasive dream is alive and well. Once again Diabetic Investor is seeing something old become new again as many who have tried and failed in the past are reinventing themselves. Many of these companies whose technology didn’t work seem to believe that a new name and new location will somehow turn bad technology into good technology. And once again investors are buying into the belief that non-invasive glucose monitoring is the Holy Grail.
All Diabetic Investor can say is that somewhere PT has a huge grin on his face as his old saying that a sucker is born every minute continues to hold true. Never mind that the dismal numbers for average testing frequency have little to do with so-called pain factor. Or that the technology being touted today is really no better than the technology that didn’t work 10 years ago. Nor does it seem to matter that most of these systems are larger and less patient friendly than the current crop of conventional monitors. Finally anyone who invests in these ventures must believe the fantasy that somehow the dynamics of glucose monitor market will magically improve.
Back in the day non-invasive companies were always inches away constantly convincing investors that if they would invest a few million more the dream would become a reality. It appears today’s crop of non-invasive companies have not forgotten this tactic and not surprisingly are finding investors who buy into the dream.
Unfortunately for the majority of these investors that have bought into these companies a nightmare awaits as non-invasive even if it worked, a huge if, it is not the Holy Grail everyone seems to think it is. The conventional blood glucose monitoring market is sinking into the abyss as it has fully transformed into a commodity market where price is the only thing that matters. The fact is patients will never perform regular glucose tests until they understand what those numbers mean and what action steps they need to take as a result of the test. It really doesn’t matter if the test is performed with a finger stick or non-invasively when patients see no value in the test results. These facts however won’t get in the way for these dreamers and the companies smart enough to promote the non-invasive myth.
Sometimes it’s just better to live the dream than live in the real world.