Cellnovo announced its presence as a major player in the diabetes race with $48 million in new funding for what industry observers have called the “iTunes of diabetes care.”
The B round for the London-based company was led by Edmond de Rothschild Investment Partners (EdRIP), with Forbion Capital Partners, Auriga Partners, NBGI Ventures and Credit Agricole Private Equity.
Previous investors Advent Venture Partners, HealthCare Ventures and NESTA also participated in the round, according to a prepared release.
Cellnovo officials said they would use the proceeds to commercialize and expand markets for its diabetes management system, which includes an insulin pump, mobile handset and online management system for diabetics. The pumps appearance, size and interface have drawn comparisons to Apple Inc.’s (NSDQ:AAPL) iPhone and iTunes products by both industry observers and the company itself.
“If people understand Cellnovo as a device that sends data to a website, they are missing the point,” Cellnovo CEO Bill Mckeon told the medical device publication Invivo last year. “If you had asked Steve Jobs at Apple about his new MP3 player called the iPod, and how it compares to other MP3 players, he might have said, ‘I am not making an MP3 player. I’m bringing entertainment into your life in a number of ways.'”
Mckeon went on to tell the magazine that he puts the Cellnovo system in the same category.
“We believed that the rest of the world was looking at diabetes and the delivery of insulin with a very device-centric mindset. There is a device that pumps insulin, another device that measures blood glucose and another device with continuous sensors,” he said.
David Kliff, an independent diabetes analyst, who publishes the Diabetic Investor, wrote on his web site that Cellnovo’s approach is a “somewhat radical departure from the traditional approach to the market, which is more concerned with building a cheaper version of what’s already on the market while ignoring how patients actually use these systems in a real world setting.”
Kliff added that he believed Cellnovo would be able to attract the attention of the big players in the diabetes market if it’s in search of an exit. Currently, there’s a glut of companies duking it out in the insulin pump and diabetes management market including medical device golliath Medtronic Inc. (NYSE:MDT), Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) subsidiary LifeScan and smaller players like Insulet (NSDQ:PODD), which makes the OmniPod.