For the first time in its 11-year history, Fitbit (FIT) has made an investment in a start-up; a $6 million capital infusion into the blood-sugar monitoring company, Sano. Sano uses a small “patch”, containing tiny needles that barely prick the skin, to monitor glucose; marketed as a less painful approach to monitoring alternatives. The medtech product for diabetics has not yet received FDA approval, which may be required before it can be implemented in FIT devices and sold within the U.S.
Howie Long-Short: Apple (AAPL) is working on a glucose monitor that doesn’t break the skin, so marketing the product as a less painful approach to the alternatives would seem short-lived. Sano needs its patch to be the best way to monitor blood sugar levels on a consumer grade wearable; not just a less painful approach. If they can accomplish that, there would seem to be upside to the business; more than 100 million people in the United States are living with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Fan Marino: In November, the National Institutes of Health purchased 10,000 FIT devices for their All of Us research program. The program seeks to capture biometric data across all demographics, eventually encompassing one million Americans; with the goal of accelerating research and improving health. Why did the NIH select FIT over AAPL? Their multi-day battery life!
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