Medical diagnostics co DiabetOmics raises $5M from Ventureast, Shantha founder

US-headquartered DiabetOmics Inc, a growth-stage medical diagnostics company with India operations, has raised its Series C round of funding worth $4 million from Ventureast to drive manufacturing and commercialisation in India, as per a company release.

It has also raised an additional $1 million from KI Varaprasad Reddy, the founder of Shantha Biotechnics, who sold his company to Sanofi a few years ago. He will take over the post of chairman at DiabetOmics and will head the India unit once it is set up.

DiabetOmics has developed a patented non-invasive, saliva-based glucose monitoring test for diabetes patients and an early detection test for gestational diabetes (in pregnant women) and pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnant women).

The firm seeks to disrupt the market by doing away with the conventional diabetes monitoring process which involves a prick to get a small blood sample. This dissuades those suffering from diabetes and potential patients from testing their sample.

The money raised will be invested to advance product development, obtain regulatory approvals in Europe, the US and in emerging markets and to set up a manufacturing facility in India and begin commercialisation.

It plans to obtain CE Mark in 2015 and start commercialisation in India and several other countries in early 2016. Though it has not finalised a location for its manufacturing facility yet, it is evaluating options in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, the newly carved state out of the south-eastern state of Andhra Pradesh.

Srinivasa Nagalla, MD, president and CEO of DiabetOmics, said, “Lack of patient compliance with regular glucose monitoring is the primary cause of diabetes-related complications. We are looking to grow our presence in India to access Indian and SE-Asian markets.”

Nagalla was previously founder and CEO of ProteoGenix, Inc., an innovator in maternal-fetal health diagnostics, which was acquired by Hologic, Inc. in 2010. Before founding ProteoGenix, he was associate professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health & Science University. He is the lead inventor on several key patents on biomarkers for clinical diagnostics, and has previously served on National Institutes of Health-sponsored national consortiums of biotechnology, genomics and proteomics.

He has over 20 years of broad multi-disciplinary experience in clinical medicine, biotechnology, and commercialisation. Nagalla received his MD from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, and post-doctoral training at Harvard University and Oregon Health & Science University.

Talking about the investment, Venkatadri Bobba, general partner of Ventureast, said, “An important focus area for us has been investing in companies fostering cutting-edge and breakthrough innovations in healthcare. We believe that DiabetOmics’ device is a game-changer and will definitely be successful in India.”

This is DiabetOmics third round of funding. It has previously raised $15 million from Rogue Venture Partners, Dudley Foundation and government grants.

Ventureast is a sector agnostic multi-stage VC firm with a special focus on healthcare. Ventureast’s Life Fund focuses on investments in cleantech, food & agriculture and healthcare sectors. It has previously made cross-border deals in drug discovery, medical devices, diagnostics, biotechnology and healthcare delivery.

This is Ventureast’s third investment in tech healthcare space. Previously, it had invested in OneBreath, a startup that develops portable and rechargeable ventilators, and SmartRx that helps communication between doctor and patients after they are discharged.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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