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Change in diabetes treatment on the horizon

A condo in La Jolla Village may end up being the staging point for a major change in the way people live with diabetes.

Freedom Meditech, a new company based in a condo on the corner of EadsAvenue and Prospect Street, in December secured the exclusive license for the development of a device that would allow diabetes sufferers to measure their blood sugar in a fashion much more convenient than the current most common method, which requires pricking the finger and withdrawing blood.

Craig Misrach, president of Freedom Meditech, envisions the consumer-ready product to be like a pair of binoculars that a diabetes sufferer would hold to his or her brow. A light would shine from the device into the eye and bounce off the glucose molecules back into the device.

“From the light that is emitted from the eye, it could determine the actual concentration of glucose within the blood,” Misrach said.

The device, which is based on technology developed at the University of Toledo, is years from being ready for consumers. Freedom Meditech is in the planning stages for pre-clinical studies, which preceed full clinical studies and a final study by the FDA that would involve at least 1,000 subjects.

“If all goes well, it will be on the market in the next four to five years,” Misrach said.

The non-invasive glucose monitoring device is the first exclusive license that Freedom Meditech has obtained. Misrach is the company’s only full-time employee, but he retains about 10 consultants including regulatory attorneys, opthalmic experts and optical engineers.

“Our board has a combined 40 years of medical device experience, taking them from the concept stage to the FDA,” Misrach said. “But we are an early-stage company that is in the process of securing the financial resources to move our technology forward.”

Misrach said the idea of creating a non-invasive method for measuring glucose through the eye has been tried several times before. He said Freedom Meditech’s design uses a superior technology platform to those used in the past.

“A lot of people have tried this before, but they either had inferior technology or did not pay attention to the FDA,” Misrach said. “We have a different technology platform. Early studies have shown the accuracy of our technology is something we believe will be enhanced to be within FDA guidelines.”

Since the technology is years from hitting the market, Misrach said he was unsure how expensive the consumer-ready product would be. Many variables will come into play, he said, including the cost of materials to produce the product.

“Our goal is to try to make it as accessible as possible to all individuals,” he said.

The technology is the first exclusive license that Freedom Meditech has obtained. Misrach said he is evaluating other technologies for managing diabetes that he could seek to commercialize in the future.

“I feel the current devices on the market for managing glucose levels are inadequate,” he said. “The amount of people worldwide that have diabetes is growing at epidemic proportions, so we are trying to help solve a very big problem.”

Misrach said the current finger-prick method of measuring glucose has several qualities that make it unappealing for diabetes sufferers to comply with. It can be painful and inconvenient in that it requires individuals to dispose of biocontaminant materials. It is estimated that non-compliance with self-monitoring of blood glucose results in nearly $70 billion in excess healthcare costs caused by extreme fluctuations in blood sugar.

“Studies show that increasing compliance will result in corrective action - people will eat appropriately or inject insulin, if necessary,” Misrach said. “People who don’t comply have high and low fluctuations that lead to the most serious problems associated with diabetes, such as amputations and heart and kidney failure.”

Misrach is hoping to hear from local diabetes sufferers to discuss their experiences with the disease and their experiences with the technology associated with the disease. His company is also seeking funding to move forward with its research.

“We are an early-stage company that is in the process of securing the financial resources to move our technology forward,” he said.

Contact Misrach at cmisrach@freedom-meditech.com.