Devices & Diagnostics

Freedom Meditech lands investments to develop diabetes medical devices

Freedom Meditech Inc., a San Diego company that is developing medical devices to manage diabetes, has closed the second round of Series A venture capital. Though the amount of the financing was undisclosed, the San Diego company with Ohio operations has raised $630,000 since 2006, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — Freedom Meditech, a San Diego company with Ohio operations that is developing medical devices to manage diabetes, has closed the second round of Series A venture capital. The amount of the financing was not disclosed.

The venture capital round included money from JumpStart Ventures, the investing unit of venture development organization JumpStart in Cleveland, as well as individual investors, Freedom Meditech stated in a press release. Investing for the first time and joining the Freedom Meditech board of directors was Catherine Stiefel, longtime director of Stiefel Laboratories, which was acquired by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline in June for $3.6 billion.

The company plans to use its investment to meet product development milestones for its growing portfolio of diabetes medical devices, and to communicate clinical protocols and study results to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Almost a year ago, Freedom Meditech won a $380,000 investment commitment from JumpStart to complete preclinical testing of its non-invasive device that measures blood glucose levels in diabetic patients. According to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company so far has raised about $630,000 of a Series A target of $2.5 million.

“We believe that this additional investment in the company is a vote of confidence in our innovative approach for painlessly and non-invasively measuring daily glucose levels from the eye,” Craig Misrach, president and CEO of Freedom Meditech, stated in his company’s release. “We are encouraged with preliminary results from our glucose prediction pre-clinical trial and plan to present these results at scientific meetings in the coming months.”

Freedom Meditech said last year that it would use the JumpStart investment to create a second-generation prototype of its leading device for use in a pilot human clinical study. The company’s device measures blood glucose levels by shining light in a patient’s eye and could become an alternative to the current “finger stick” method of testing.

The hand-held device is partly based on patented technology developed at the University of Toledo. Freedom Meditech started doing research and development for its device in Cleveland in early 2008 through a product development services agreement with MAGNET, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network. The company also has research and development relationships with the Cleveland Clinic’s Cole Eye Institute, BioEnterprise, LNE Group and BioOhio, according to JumpStart.

Initial studies of the device have demonstrated high accuracy and repeatability at low levels of glucose concentration, which is when patients tend to black out from low blood sugar, Freedom Meditech said. The company also is leveraging its expertise in ophthalmic equipment commercialization and endocrine care to develop other non-invasive medical devices for diabetes diagnosis and management.

In early 2008, Freedom Meditech struck an engineering and product design agreement with Battelle, the research and development institute in Columbus, Ohio, to begin work on a device that could be used in human trials.