RF Science and Technology has been battered by “a sordid history” of investor lawsuits, fired management and Chapter 11 bankruptcy, says former board member and current director of R&D Mark Iverson.
Yet Iverson says the stalled, Reno, Nevada-based, start-up’s history should not tarnish what the company has been able to achieve on the technical side. Through testing on five diabetics, the company has shown that its bloodless glucometer technology has predictive accuracy over time, something that he says is considered the gold standard in glucose measurement.
What’s more, because the glucometer uses the more mature, RF technology, instead of optical technology on which historical and current efforts at non-invasive glucose testing has been focused, the end product will be cheaper to build and rapidly scalable. With both technical and financial positives, all Iverson is looking for is a business partner that has the financial and technical wherewithal to make this product a commercial reality.
Here is the landscape that the company finds itself in.
Currently, there are no FDA-approved bloodless glucometers in the U.S. C8 Medisensors recently won CE Mark for its smartphone device that uses optical sensors to continuously monitor glucose non-invasively. Grove Instruments, is a starup company developing a non-invasive device using light. Its Optical Bridge technology uses near-infrared spectroscopy to measure a person’s real-time blood sugar in less than 20 seconds.
RF Science and Technology tested five diabetics between February and April 2010 using nearly 1,000 samples. The same people were tested a few months later and it was found that the technology’s “calibration was yielding good predictive accuracy,” Iverson said. In the test, patients inserted their finger into a cylindrical sensor resting it on two metal contacts every 10 to 15 minutes over a four/five-hour period to reveal a measurement. A scan is done in 7 seconds, and Iverson contends that he envisions that in the final product, that time would be further reduced to around 3 seconds.
Compare that to the C8 Medisensors device that needs to be worn continuously under clothes next to the skin or with that of Grove Instruments where the smartphone device tests the fingers or the earlobe in less than 20 seconds, he said.
There is a reason that many optical-based glucometers need to be worn continuously, Iverson said.
“In order to achieve the repetability and accuracy, they need to monitor the exact same area of skin. If the light beam moves slightly and interrogates a different volume of tissue, then the calibration may not give an accurate result,” he notes.
While all this sounds good, one needs to bear in mind that RF Science and Technology has no money and has ceased day-to-day operations as of January 2011.
Iverson is now trying to market the technology looking for companies that may seek to license it. Question is whether there will be any takers.
[Image of business partnership and growth from BigStock Images]