Know Labs, a public Seattle company formerly known as Visulant, announced a bold new strategy Wednesday.
The company has shifted its material ID technology to focus on medicine, and its shareholders seem pleased by the move. In a video posted to its website, CEO Phil Bosua announced plans for a non-invasive blood glucose monitor, taking aim at the ever-growing diabetes population.
“The size of market is enormous because existing devices do not serve the needs of the customers,” Bosua told GeekWire in an email interview. “The biggest difference with our technology compared to competitors is we have no invasive needles, this is a first.”
Know Labs’ stock jumped more than150 percent Wednesday morning, valuing $1.80 as of publishing.
Bosua also told GeekWire that Mike Grabham, a Seattle-area entrepreneur who joined the company as its chief business officer in May, was no longer on staff.
Diabetes, particularly type 2 diabetes, is on the rise around the world. The most recent numbers estimate that 422 million people live with some form of diabetes, rising from just 108 million people in 1980.
Those with the disease need to constantly monitor their blood glucose levels, either by pricking a finger to draw blood or by wearing a monitor that measures blood through a filament placed under their skin.
In a video statement, Bosua said Know Lab will soon be releasing its research into applying its technology, which uses light to identify diferent materials, to blood glucose. He also promised plans on how the company will turn that research into a “low-cost, wearable product.”
“We’ve got great data using our bench-top prototypes and have done feasibility projects with electrical engineering firms in Seattle to make sure we can miniaturize the tech,” Bosua said in an email, adding that the technology is also being tested in some human subjects. “So while we’re a little while from a release there are no blockers in the way.”
The chronic nature and of diabetes and the growing number of people diagnosed with the disease makes it a lucrative field for device makers. Type 2 diabetes is considered one of the biggest health problems in developed countries, particularly the U.S. The disease is costly to treat, and is also late onset and often associated with obesity, poor diet and lack of exercise.
Know Labs is led by Bosua, who joined the company last year, and the company’s founder and current chairman, Ron Erickson.