Gentag, Mayo Clinic and others form JV to develop cheap, painless smartphone-based diabetes tech

Four partners have gotten together in the hopes of developing technology to replace traditional glucometers--and maybe even manage insulin delivery with smartphone-based systems. Wearables specialist Gentag and the Mayo Clinic are expanding upon their ongoing collaboration and adding into the mix a pair of existing partners: sensor maker NovioSense and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS).

The partners plan to pool 75 issued patents under the JV with development being carried out in Europe by NovioSense and Gentag in the U.S. Ultimately, they plan to license, sell or co-develop the JV technology and patents to "a large global partner interested in leading the next generation of diabetes monitoring," they said in a statement. Financial details remain undisclosed.

The goal is to create a smartphone-based platform to offer low-cost, painless diabetes monitoring. It will use consumers' Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled smartphones as readers to replace blood glucose meters.

"We want to make pain free glucose monitoring available to everyone independent of their socioeconomic status. It is only by increasing awareness and by making monitoring simple and affordable that we can hope to push back the tidal wave," said NovioSense CEO Dr. Christopher Wilson in a statement. "By creating a device powered only by the NFC antennas found in most modern smart phones, and combining this with a pain free sensor platform, we can cut the cost and burden of glucose monitoring dramatically."

The partners expect the resulting technology will be useful across a number of potential diabetic management applications such as long-term implantable sensors, diabetes skin patches or tear drop sensors, and wireless insulin delivery systems that are also controlled by mobile devices.

Gentag CEO Dr. John Peeters

Gentag expects to bring to the table its focus on disposable, ultrathin, wearable and immunoassay sensors that work with NFC-enabled devices, while the Mayo Clinic offers its diabetic expertise. In addition, Dennis Kozlowski, former CEO of Tyco International, who is affiliated with Gentag and Bruce Kline of Mayo Clinic Ventures, plans to negotiate terms in any resulting deal for the diabetes tech.

NovioSense, like Gentag, is a sensor specialist, while Fraunhofer IMS is a leading microelectronics academic research center.

"By pooling our resources together, we are in a position now to dramatically advance diabetes monitoring," added Gentag CEO Dr. John Peeters. "Our patented technology allows us to make wireless sensors that are battery-less, disposable, painless and use cell phones or other NFC devices as glucometers. Furthermore we can use the cell phones as controllers for insulin delivery, including disposable NFC insulin delivery systems, under our issued worldwide patents."

- here is the release