Biolinq amasses $100M for its painless glucose sensor patch

The race for the next major advancement in diabetes tracking technology continues to heat up, with Biolinq securing a hefty $100 million in investor support to kick-start the development of its wearable, noninvasive glucose sensor patch.

The San Diego company’s nine-digit series B round represents a big leap over its series A, which raised just under $15 million spread out over nearly 18 months between 2017 and 2019.

Biolinq’s coin-sized patch incorporates a microarray of independent electrochemical biosensors designed to measure the amount of glucose found in the interstitial fluid between cells just underneath the skin instead of tapping into the bloodstream. 

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According to the company, early feasibility studies have shown the device can track glucose levels as well as other biomarkers continuously for up to one week without the use of needle-based applicators. The patch also comes equipped with its own integrated display.

“We now have an opportunity to expand the sensing category and deliver a new generation of sensing capabilities that can reach millions of lives in the diabetes community and beyond,” Biolinq CEO Richard Yang said in a statement. Yang joined the company in November 2020 after working on continuous glucose monitoring technologies and digital health programs at Medtronic and Dexcom.  

The series B round was led by RiverVest Venture Partners with additional backing from T&W Medical, AXA IM Alts, Global Health Investment Corporation, Ascensia Diabetes Care, Longevity Vision Fund, Falcon Edge Capital, Aphelion Capital, M Ventures, Hikma Ventures, Senvest, The Broe Group, Taisho Pharmaceutical, Cirrus Logic, EOFlow, Able Partners and the JDRF T1D Fund.

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The quest to provide a simpler, pain-free solution to measuring blood sugar has become a larger draw for more than just people with diabetes, who have typically had to deal with fingerstick lancets, testing strips and other devices. Tracking glucose highs and lows could also become a boon in wellness or fitness applications.

Recently, industry heavyweight Dexcom opened up access to its continuous glucose monitor data to consumer electronics companies such as Garmin for use with its smartwatches and handlebar-mounted cycling computers.

Meanwhile, Apple has reportedly been chasing noninvasive glucose sensor technology for its devices for years. And in early 2021 it was disclosed that the tech giant has served as the largest customer of Rockley Photonics, makers of smartwatch-based light sensors that aim to measure biomarkers from blood pressure to blood sugar, calling it a “clinic-on-the-wrist.”

Other startups, like Israeli newcomer Hagar, aim to use radio waves to measure glucose levels. The company brewed up $11 million for its GWave technology that, according to Hagar, came about when co-founder Geri Waintraub accidentally spilled a cup of tea on a radio frequency device, causing a reaction linked to the amount of sugar in his drink.

Know Labs also recently debuted its pocket-sized electronic device, amid plans to launch human clinical trials of its RFID technology ahead of regulatory submissions next year.