French startup raises €2.25m to develop smartwatch that monitors glucose levels in diabetes patients

French startup raises €2.25m to develop smartwatch that monitors glucose levels in diabetes patients
Finance

The Paris-based healthtech startup PKvitality has raised €2.25 million from a major German manufacturer, to develop an advanced glucose monitoring smartwatch for patients with diabetes, according to EU-Startups.com.

Called the K’Watch, the smartwatch would be the first device to allow effortless, painless, constant, and precise monitoring of glucose levels while on the go. It would allow patients to track their glucose levels continuously over time, a potentially life-saving feature that can be crucial for uncovering problems that would be missed with intermittent testing. 

The device can also send alerts to prevent episodes of hyper and hypoglycemia, either to the user, or to family, friends, or caregivers. 

Diabetes patients normally need to prick their finger with a small needle periodically throughout the day to check glucose levels. There are already continuous glucose monitors available, which transmit results to phones using Bluetooth. Those devices still use a needle to check blood, and are typically worn on the stomach. 

Instead, the K’Watch uses a replaceable “SkinTaste” sensor with tiny, 0.5-millimeter needles that analyze the interstitial fluid around tissue cells in the wrist, which absorb glucose from the bloodstream. By penetrating only the upper layer of the skin, it avoids causing pain, and by sampling interstitial fluid instead of blood, won’t induce any bleeding. The patch would need to be replaced every seven days. 

The company is working on another “Athlete” version of the watch that can also measure heart rate, lactic acid, and VO2 max levels during physical activity. 

PKVitality raised its new funding with an agreement with Beurer GmBH, a major German manufacturer of health devices. The company is a key distributor of glucose monitors in Germany and Austria, and through their agreement, have acquired exclusive commercialization rights for the K’Watch in Germany, Austria, and Italy. 

“We are very proud that our technology has been endorsed by Beurer, as the depth of their due diligence and their competencies in health-care technologies are best in class,” said Luc Pierart, CEO and founder of PKvitality.

“Their commercial footprint will provide a powerful springboard to promote our unique product, in the large and dynamic market of CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitoring). Beurer’s investment in PKvitality will also enable us to continue our development efforts and to confirm the excellent results currently obtained in our preclinical model.”

Photo by Biswarup Ganguly [CC BY (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

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