There are over 400 million diabetics in the world today, and with overweight being a significant risk factor of type 2 diabetes, nearly two billion people are in the risk group.
Monitoring their glucose level is an everyday practice for diabetics. It is mostly done by a needle puncture on the tip of the finger. As this is cumbersome and painful, many people fail to monitor their glucose as often as they should – or they don’t do it at all. Hence, there is a huge need for a convenient needle-free solution.
The novel glucose monitoring solution by GlucoModicum Ltd measures glucose from interstitial fluid without a needle puncture.
“If everything goes according to our plan, our glucose monitor could be introduced to the market in two or three years,” says Jokke Mäki, managing director of GlucoModicum.
In the future, this technology will be miniaturized to fit into smart watches or activity bands. Furthermore, manufacturing costs are low, which makes it suitable for targeting large consumer masses
Everything started from a coincidence
In 2015, a team of scientists at the University of Helsinki were experimenting with a novel method to transport molecules into tissues without using needles. However, after adjusting certain parameters, they observed just the opposite effect – molecules started to come out.
Later experiments confirmed that the novel method enables rapid extraction of interstitial fluid out of the skin in a painless, convenient, and non-invasive manner. This is the basis of GlucoModicum’s proprietary technology named iFUS.
The researchers have demonstrated that the concentration of glucose in interstitial fluid extracted with iFUS correlates with the concentration of glucose in blood in healthy volunteers.
In addition, interstitial fluid contains information of many other analytes in blood, e.g. certain hormones. Therefore, iFUS can serve as a platform for multiple self-test devices.
The challenges and opportunities of needle-free glucose monitoring
Multiple technology and pharmaceutical companies are pursuing needle-free glucose monitoring solutions. However, no compelling products are yet in the market. GlucoModicum’s technology breaks a two-decade period of lack of innovations on methods to extract dermal interstitial fluid non-invasively. This opens many exciting opportunities.
"We are carefully monitoring the competitive landscape. At the moment, it seems that iFUS could be the first solid and elegant solution," says the Managing Director of GlucoModicum, Jokke Mäki.
“We believe GlucoModicum is well positioned to create very scalable and profitable business, while bringing a solution to markets which will improve health and quality of life for millions of people."
Strong IPR position
A prototype of the glucose indicator, which utilises iFUS technology, was completed in spring 2019. The prototype has been tested in measuring the glucose level of healthy individuals, with promising results.
In summer 2019 the device was tested in clinical trials on patients with type 2 diabetes, again with promising results. These tests made it possible to investigate the product's functioning with a wide range of glucose values. In July 2019 an industrial grade prototype was completed.
GlucoModicum holds a global patent and trade secret portfolio concerning the technology and the overall integrated solution. Patent has been granted in EU concerning the core enabling technology, further patent filing ongoing, covering target population of 4,3 billion people.