December 5, 2018

UConn glucose monitoring tech company yields $3M investment

Photo | Biorasis
Photo | Biorasis
Glucowizzard, 24/7 continuous glucose monitoring implant.

A UConn-based life sciences company developing a non-surgical, implantable glucose monitoring system has scored a $3 million investment to advance its technology.

Biorasis, developed by UConn professors at the school's Technology Incubation Program (TIP) in Farmington, has received $3 million in funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust, which supports a variety of organizations focused on health and medical research.

School officials said the Helmsley Trust funding is what's called program-related investment in the form of a loan, and will help preclinical advancement of Biorasis' technology. The investment could result in a return of capital for the trust.

Biorasis is developing a small, minimally invasive biosensor, called the Glucowizzard, to track glucose levels for diabetes patients. The Glucowizzard is implanted beneath the skin and wirelessly communicates with a watch-like unit displaying glucose levels. The watch pairs with various digital accessories including smartphones and laptops for data storage and transmission to a healthcare provider.

The tiny sensor eliminates finger pricking and provides real-time glucose monitoring for managing diabetes. Its allows patients to better manage their diets and eliminates open wounds.

The technology meets a key need for type 1 diabetes patients, officials said, who need a long-term, reliable and cost-effective glucose monitoring system to manage their condition.

"This new Helmsley Charitable Trust funding fills a critical need in financing that will enable Biorasis to move our technology forward to be ready for clinical trials," said Ilze Krisst, Biorasis' chief operating officer.

According to UConn, diabetes affects 30 million Americans (one in 10) and in some cases creates secondary complications including heart disease, blindness and stroke. One in every four Americans are also pre-diabetic, the school said.

Faquir Jain, UConn professor of electrical and computer engineering and co-founder of Biorasis, said the company in recent years has received funding from several federal and state agencies, including National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, nonprofit JDRF, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, the U.S. Army and others.

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