SAN DIEGO, CA, Biolinq today announced it has expanded its oversubscribed Series A financing with an additional investment of $4.75 million.
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Biolinq, a health technology company with a unique wirelessly-enabled biosensor patch capable of continuously monitoring multiple biomarkers, today announced it has expanded its oversubscribed Series A financing with an additional investment of $4.75 million led by the JDRF T1D Fund, Aphelion Capital and LifeSci Venture Partners. They join a strong syndicate of existing investors, including M Ventures and Hikma Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Hikma Pharmaceuticals (LON:HIK) who also participated in the financing. The investment brings Biolinq’s total Series A funding to $15 million.Biolinq’s first commercial product, a unique minimally-invasive technology, will allow people living with diabetes to continuously monitor their blood glucose without the pain and hassle of traditional continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. The new financing will be used to support the growth of Biolinq’s innovative technology platform and fund additional clinical studies.
“We are impressed with the initial clinical results Biolinq has achieved with their very promising technology,” said Katie Ellias, Managing Director at the JDRF T1D Fund. “We believe the company is well positioned to set new standards for minimally invasive CGMs and are excited to support Biolinq during this critical phase as they work towards bringing next-gen solutions to market and explore future applications for people living with type 1 diabetes.”
“We are excited to welcome the new investors to the group and see the additional capital support the momentum of innovation for Biolinq,” said Edward Kliphuis, Investment Director of the New Businesses fund at M Ventures. “We have been very pleased with the progress Biolinq made in 2018 towards the development of their novel, ‘pain-free’ CGM technology that will enable people with diabetes to better manage their condition,” said Lana Ghanem, Managing Director of Hikma Ventures.
“Our results to date demonstrate our vision to increase access to CGM and further simplify the management of diabetes,” said Jared Tangney, CEO of Biolinq. “2018 was a landmark year for Biolinq, marked by the successful completion of our first clinical study. This funding round validates our strong clinical results and will continue to advance our technology platform towards commercial feasibility.”
Biolinq also welcomes Tom Peyser, who has extensive experience in diabetes technology, to head up Scientific, Clinical, and Regulatory Affairs as Senior Vice President, to help ensure the company reaches its goal of commercial viability.
About Biolinq Incorporated
Biolinq is a health technology company developing a skin-applied, minimally-invasive electrochemical biosensor platform which analyzes biomarkers in the interstitial fluid to provide actionable health information. Given the platform potential of the technology and the unique ability to simultaneously measure multiple biomarkers, the company aims to develop a pipeline of biomonitoring products. Biolinq was founded in 2012 (as Electrozyme, LLC), and is located in San Diego.
JDRF T1D Fund
The JDRF T1D Fund (www.t1dfund.org) is a venture philanthropy fund accelerating life-changing solutions to cure, prevent, and treat type 1 diabetes (T1D) through catalytic commercial investments. Through its investments in partnerships with private capital, including venture capital, corporations and foundations, the T1D Fund seeks to attract the private investment necessary to advance drugs, devices, diagnostics, and vaccines into the hands of those living with T1D. The T1D Fund invests in areas strategically aligned with JDRF, the leading global organization funding T1D research, with an exclusive focus on supporting the best commercial opportunities. The T1D Fund will reinvest any realized gains into new investments to further its mission.
Aphelion Capital invests in ideas, entrepreneurs, and companies with promising medical technologies that improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. To each opportunity, they bring the perspective of an investor, a clinician, an entrepreneur, and an industry executive. Aphelion works closely with the American Heart Association by managing Cardeation Capital, also invested in Biolinq, in a collaborative venture model to make smart decisions that support companies and entrepreneurs.
LifeSci Venture Partners
Formed in 2017, LifeSci Venture Partners is the early stage investing arm of LifeSci Partners, a unique life sciences and healthcare consultancy formed in 2010. The venture fund focuses on pre-public institutional rounds of transformational healthcare companies managed by exceptional founder/entrepreneurs. The investment principals include broad-ranging life sciences experience including public and private investing, deal structuring, investment banking, equity capital markets, equity research, and bench research – both basic science and applied.
Radar, a fledgling platform that combines radio frequency identification (RFID) with computer vision to help retailers automate inventory management and more, announced that it has raised $16 million in a round of funding from Ashton Kutcher’s Sound Ventures, NTT Docomo Ventures, Align Ventures, Beanstalk Ventures, Colle Capital, Founders Fund Pathfinder, and Novel TMT.
The company said that a couple of its stealth customers — two undisclosed billion-dollar retailers — also invested in the round.
An estimated $1.1 trillion is lost each year to “inventory distortion,” defined as any situation in which a customer intent on buying an item isn’t able to due to misplaced or out-of-stock goods. It can also refer to a retailer having more stock than demand requires.
RFID tags have long been used by retailers in environments such as warehouses and distribution centers to expedite and automate the process of tracking and counting goods. The tags can be used to check boxes or pallets into a store or storage facility and even to track individual items (rather than the broader SKU) at any point in their journey. What may have once required several employees to manually check incoming or outgoing goods can be done with a simple scanning device. And unlike barcodes, RFID relies on low-power radio waves that don’t require line-of-sight to identify items.
But RFID isn’t a perfect solution for every scenario — for example, it may not be able to tell you the precise location of an RFID-tagged item, which could be essential in future retail outlets.
“RFID technology was originally designed to help retailers improve inventory management, but most solutions remain highly manual, limited in capability, or too expensive to deploy,” said Radar cofounder and CEO Spencer Hewett.
And that is precisely what Radar wants to facilitate, with a proprietary platform encapsulating hardware and software that allows brick-and-mortar stores to keep pace with the Amazons of the world — not just in terms of automation, but also in meeting customer expectations.
“The rise of Amazon and direct-to-consumer brands has created unprecedented consumer expectations around speed and convenience,” Hewett added.
Six years in the making
Founded out of New York in 2013 by Hewett — a Thiel Fellow and Y-Combinator alum — Radar spent the first three years of its life in “solo R&D” mode as Hewett sought to refine his RFID localization technology.
Hewett brought on two cofounders in 2016 — Michael Murphy (COO) and Adam Blair (CTO) — to accelerate commercialization. Murphy was formerly head of RFID at Inditex (which owns Zara) throughout the Americas, while Blair was cofounder and CEO of Encinitas Laboratories, an engineering company that built Intel’s RFID products and that Intel went on to acquire outright.
Radar says its RFID technology is different from traditional RFID, as the company builds everything from the ground up using “proprietary signal processing methods and location algorithms” that improve the ability to identify an RFID tag in three dimensions.
Each Radar sensor also sports four built-in cameras, designed to work in conjunction with the RFID, which opens up additional possibilities. An accurate location reading combined with visual perception smarts allows stores to ascertain where everything is, which is required for item-level analytics and makes it easier to garner data from brick-and-mortar stores, as with ecommerce websites. Autonomous checkouts is another scenario that Radar hopes to cater to in future.
Above: Radar’s white sensor has RFID and computer vision technology
“We recognize the power of truly integrating RFID and Computer Vision,” Hewett said. “This is why we’ve gone through the effort of developing proprietary, advanced signal processing methods and a proprietary sensor that allows us to realize the benefits of both technologies. In doing so, we’ve created a scalable solution that not only solves inventory management but also enables ecommerce quality analytics and autonomous checkout in all retail stores.”
But that’s in the future — for now, Radar’s inaugural product is all about helping retailers keep tabs on their stock in real time.
“Retailers still don’t know exactly what they have in their stores, let alone where it is, and it’s costing them billions,” Hewett added. “By combining RFID and computer vision, we’ve created the only solution on the market that allows retailers to know exactly where all their products are in real time in 3D, from the floor of a fitting room to the highest stockroom shelf. This allows retailers to make every last unit available to all customers both in-store and online.”
Radar had previously raised just $600,000 in outside funding, but with an additional $16 million in the bank it will target its first commercial deployment with three undisclosed enterprise customers this year.
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Madison, Wisconsin-based Propeller Health, formerly known as Asthmapolis, has raised $14.5 million in a round of funding led by Safeguard Scientifics with participation from return backer The Social+Capital Partnership. Propeller has also hired Practice Fusionâ€™s Chris Hogg as its first COO, and heâ€™ll head up the companyâ€™s new San Francisco office.
The smart inhaler companyâ€™s devices and companion apps offer geographic mapping of inhaler use and asthma triggers as well as adherence tracking and early warning alerts for COPD patients.
â€œThe funding supports the mission we are already on: to bring sensors to the full variety of the inhaled medications that are used for chronic respiratory disease,â€ Propeller Health CEO David Van Sickle told MobiHealthNews in an interview. â€œWe are already well down that pathâ€¦ but the respiratory pipeline is fairly active. We are seeing new medications, therapies, and form factors.â€
In May Propeller received FDA clearance for its COPD offering. The new platform aims to help users prevent so-called â€œasthma attacksâ€ or similar lung inflammation symptoms caused by COPD. The Propeller Metered-Dose Inhaler measures a patientâ€™s use of their rescue inhaler. That data is automatically compared to a patientâ€™s baseline and to general clinical guidelines, and the app can alert care teams if an attack seems likely.
â€œIn addition software development, as we take on more COPD programs, we have a broad spectrum of demographics that we have to cover with our products and services,â€ Van Sickle said. â€œSo we are building out teams to support the usability and experience of not only kids with respiratory disease but elderly folks with respiratory disease, caregivers, new enterprise teams for care managers which are on their own evolving with the times and new healthcare arrangements.â€
Propeller is also using some of the funds to build out its client services teams and sales staff, which has been relatively small to date, Van Sickle said.
One of the companyâ€™s recently announced customers was an accountable care organization partly owned by Propeller partner Dignity Health: Arizona Care Network, an ACO formed by Dignity Health and Tenetâ€™s Abrazo Health, recently announced that it would offer its chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) patients the FDA-cleared, wireless-enabled inhaler and companion program developed by Propeller. The deal marked the first ACO deal for Propeller and one of the few publicly disclosed mobile health customer wins involving an ACO.
â€œWe are [seeing interest from other ACOs] but it depends a lot on what type of ACO, right?â€ Van Sickle said. â€œ[It depends on] how far they are along in their own life course and whether they have developed a budget for innovations investment yet. For a while there was just a lot of groundwork that needed to be laid down to make those kinds of investments. Now we are seeing that change a bit.â€
Propeller is seeing a lot of interest in COPD programs, Van Sickle said, partly driven by the market forces in healthcare incentivizing providers to reduce readmissions for COPD patients in particular.
Propellerâ€™s new Chief Operating Officer â€” the companyâ€™s first ever COO â€” was Practice Fusionâ€™s Associate Vice President of Data Sciences. Hogg joined Practice Fusion in early 2013 after the company acquired his consumer-facing startup 100Plus, which was incubated at Practice Fusion and partially funded by Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard, but otherwise a separate business pre-acquisition.
â€œChris brings first and foremost a really interesting mix of skills and experience â€” both the academic experience heâ€™s had and the commercial experience in pharma, data analytics, and fielding a digital health company,â€ Van Sickle said. â€œFor me [Chris’ hire] echoes and foreshadows a shift in digital health toward the therapeutic approach and how we need to build digital health interventions that â€” hopefully â€” have a real focus on delivering improvement and outcome and less on engagement for its own sake. Chris has lived and practiced a lot of what we are trying to do and he has the operating mojo that we want to bring to this company. Heâ€™s a great fit and weâ€™re really excited to have him.â€
HealthQuest Capital Raises $110M for Debut Fund with Medtech Focus
Bruce V. Bigelow 8/19/14 Xconomy
HealthQuest Capital, founded last year by Sofinnova Ventures partner Garheng Kong, says it has raised $110 million for its debut fund and already has invested in several medical technology and patient care products.
While HealthQuest is staying close to Sofinnovaâ€”sharing its Menlo Park, CA, office and back office resourcesâ€”Kong says the firm has a different strategy.
Where Sofinnova has raised nearly $1 billion for its two most recent funds to invest mainly in biopharmaceuticals, HealthQuest set out to raise just $50 million for its first fund to invest in medical devices, diagnostics, health IT, mobile health, consumer over-the-counter products, and patient care productsâ€”especially where innovation can improve both patient care and healthcare costs. â€œNowadays, innovation has to be cost-effectiveâ€ as well as improve patient outcomes, Kong said, â€œso healthcare companies want to know how much cost youâ€™re taking out of the system.â€
The combination of team and strategy resonated with investors, Kong said, and he closed fund-raising at $110 million for HealthQuestâ€™s inaugural fund. While there was some overlap with Sofinnovaâ€™s investors, he said HealthQuestâ€™s limited partners are mostly different, and include pension plans, endowments, family offices, and individual investors. A HealthQuest spokeswoman declined to say whether Sofinnova itself has invested in the new fund, saying, â€œWe arenâ€™t providing any detail on underlying investors or economics.â€
David Kabakoff, a San Diego-based partner with Sofinnova Ventures since 2007, will continue to play a role in both worlds. Kabakoff, who has had both operational and investment roles in the life sciences, will be making medtech investments for HealthQuest and placing bets on new drug therapies for Sofinnova.
HealthQuest intends to target areas where there are clear unmet clinical needs for innovation as well as undercapitalized geographies. â€œA lot of these companies are quite capital efficient,â€ Kong said. â€œThe deal sets are equally likely to be spread across the country as they are to be in the Bay Area or Boston. Weâ€™re open-minded about where these companies can be and need to be formed. If your business is focused on hospitals, youâ€™re likely to be in Nashville, TN. If youâ€™re focused on orthopedics, youâ€™re probably in Warsaw, IN.â€
The fund was created last fall and has invested in the following companies:
â€”Orlando, FL-based Vestagen Technical Textiles, which specializes in fabrics and apparel for healthcare workers that are comfortable, designed to repel liquids, and engineered with anti-microbial properties to minimize the chances of spreading infections. HealthQuest invested more than $3 million in Vestagen, Kong said.
â€”Burlingame, CA-based First Aid Shot Therapy, which has been developing over-the-counter remedies formulated as a liquid shot to treat everyday conditions such as pain and upset stomach. HealthQuest invested about $15 million in the company, also known as F.A.S.T.
â€”Friendswood, TX-based Castle Biosciences has been developing molecular diagnostic tests to help doctors determine the optimal treatment for patients with uveal melanoma, cutaneous melanoma, esophageal cancer, thymic cancers, mesothelioma and gliomas. HealthQuest led an $11.8 million round that included Mountain Group Capital and Longfellow Venture Partners.
Kong, was previously a general partner at Sofinnova Ventures, and will continue to manage some Sofinnova investments. But as the founder and managing partner at HealthQuest, he will not be making any new investments for Sofinnova. Some of his deals include Cellective Therapeutics (acquired by AstraZeneca), Novamin Technologies (acquired by GlaxoSmithKline), Cempra Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: CEMP), Serenex (acquired by Pfizer) and Alimera Sciences (Nasdaq: ALIM). Kong also sits on the board of Laboratory Corporation of America (NYSE: LH) and the Duke University Medical Center Board of Visitors.
Oher members of the HealthQuest investing team are partner Randy Scott, a medical technology entrepreneur based in Gainesville, FL, and venture partner Tom Callaway of Atlanta, GA, who founded a life sciences executive search firm in Atlanta.