Tandem Diabetes Care, a San Diego-based company developing insulin pumps for diabetics, has raised a whopping $52.3 million round of equity financing that began last May, according to a regulatory filing.
The company is led by CEO Kim Blickenstaff, the co-founder and former CEO of Biosite, a diagnostic company that was acquired by Inverness Medical Innovations for $1.8 billion in June 2007. The filing doesn’t say who invested, although it has some prominent people on its nine-member board, including Amylin Pharmaceuticals founder Howard “Ted” Greene; and venture capitalists from Delhi Ventures, HLM Venture Partners, TPG Biotech, and Domain Associates.
Tandem didn’t respond to a request for comment Saturday, so if I hear anything from them I’ll be sure to update this story. But it’s really not too hard to see what the company is trying to accomplish from looking at its website. The company says it is “deep in product development” of new kinds of insulin pumps that will enable diabetics to remain active. This is a big business opportunity as the incidence of diabetes, a lifelong condition in which people struggle to maintain normal blood sugar levels, keeps on climbing. An estimated 23.6 million people in the U.S.-about one out of every 13 people—have the disease, according to the American Diabetes Association.
Tandem says it is seeking a better way to manage the disease with wearble insulin pumps, which essentially make it so patients can get fast-acting insulin continuously throughout the day using a catheter, instead of giving themselves periodic injections.
“Tandem Diabetes Care is a company with experience; not in age, but through the wisdom that has been shared with us by more than 1,000 clinicians and current pump users,” the company says on its website. “Experience also comes from our on-staff insulin pump users and the former executives of leading life science companies who are committed to creating and offering products that provide people with freedom, style, and peace of mind. We also believe that “one size does not fit all” when it comes to pump therapy—therefore, we hope to offer consumers an array of product choices that fit their individual needs.”
Tandem is entering a market with a number of established competitors. Current insulin pump models are made by Minneapolis-based Medtronic, Bedford, MA-based Insulet, Switzerland-based Roche, New Brunswick, NJ-based Johnson & Johnson, South Korea-based Sooil, and Japan-based Nipro, according to reviews on diabetesnet.com.
Besides Blickenstaff, Tandem’s board includes Dick Allen, a prominent startup investor; Greene, the co-founder of Amylin; John Livingston, a former executive with MiniMed; Tandem founder Paul DiPerna; Jesse Treu of Domain Associates; Ned Brown of TPG Biotech; Doug Roeder of Delphi Ventures; and Ed Cahill of HLM Venture Parnters.
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