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Abbott invests in diabetes care start-up

  • Abbott has invested an undisclosed amount in Bigfoot Biomedical, a start-up creating diabetes care devices and systems.
  • Abbott and Bigfoot previously agreed to integrate Abbott's new continuous glucose monitor, FreeStyle Libre, with Bigfoot's insulin delivery systems.
  • Bigfoot raised $55 million in Series B financing, bringing its total funding to more than $90 million.
Bigfoot Biomedical CEO Jeffrey Brewer
Source: Bigfoot Biomedical
Bigfoot Biomedical CEO Jeffrey Brewer

Abbott is taking its partnership with a diabetes care start-up one step further.

The health-care company hsa invested an undisclosed amount in Bigfoot Biomedical, a start-up creating diabetes care devices and systems. Bigfoot said Wednesday it has raised $55 million in Series B financing, bringing its total funding to $90 million.

The funds will help Bigfoot build a diabetes platform that will offer everything but the insulin, said CEO Jeffrey Brewer. Bigfoot plans to develop insulin pens, pumps and glucose monitors and connect them with smartphone technology. It also plans to prescribe them together and have them reimbursed as a monthly fee.

Abbott and Bigfoot previously agreed to integrate Abbott's new continuous glucose monitor, FreeStyle Libre, with Bigfoot's insulin delivery systems. Both companies want to automate what can be a challenging, time-consuming and dangerous process.

Abbott's FreeStyle Libre measures people's blood sugar automatically every 15 minutes for up to 10 days. Unlike most devices on the market, Libre doesn't require patients to prick their fingers and draw blood to keep it accurate.

Products in Bigfoot Biomedical's pipeline
Source: Bigfoot Biomedical
Products in Bigfoot Biomedical's pipeline

Abbott and Bigfoot share a vision to create easy-to-use devices that are connected to smartphones and are accessible to as many people as possible, Brewer said. Part of Bigfoot's plan includes making it easier for doctors to write — and patients to manage — prescriptions.

"These are values and aspirations that both Abbott and Bigfoot share, so I think that makes us great partners," he said. "This investment on top of the existing supply agreement for the Libre to become part of the Bigfoot system, I think, just reinforces that we see the world in the same way."

Originally named SmartLoop Labs, Bigfoot was created in 2014 after co-founder and now Chief Product Officer Bryan Mazlish hacked and automated his son's insulin pump. The goal was to create a system that measures glucose levels and adjusts insulin levels on its own — a long-sought after goal in diabetes management.

Nearly four years later, the company is focused on building. It's about halfway to the amount it needs to finish, so Brewer said Bigfoot will start fundraising again next year. It also plans to start clinical trials with the hope of selling and marketing its systems in 2020.