Experience Helped San Diego’s EHS Get First FDA-Approved Wireless Blood Glucose Meter

3/2/11Follow @bvbigelow

“I describe Entra Health Systems mainly as a medical device company,” CEO Richard Strobridge said when we met recently at his company’s San Diego headquarters. “We’re under the jurisdiction of the FDA, and we have to have all kinds of certifications and qualifications [as a medical device company.] But a lot of our expertise, and my personal experience is in integrating telecommunications.”

Strobridge spent a decade at SAIC, the Virginia defense contractor that was founded in San Diego. There, he integrated teleconferencing systems with communications networks so the fast-growing company could communicate more efficiently with its offices around the country and the world. He claims several firsts in video networking, including technology that enabled a surgical team in a hospital operating room to provide training to surgeons in another operating room.

Richard Strobridge (courtesy Connect)

At Entra Health, Strobridge and co-founders John Hendel and Larry Mahar decided to focus on a different sort of technology integration—by combining an electronic blood glucose meter with a cell phone. The company created a Bluetooth-enabled blood glucose meter, which the company says is the first such device cleared by the Food and Drug Administration.

After starting the company in April, 2007, they spent most of the next year engineering a prototype and developing software. By the fall of 2008, Entra Health won approval to market their wireless medical technology in Europe. The FDA issued its approval for Entra Health’s technology in the United States in April 2009.

“It’s not our first rodeo,” says Bruce Ahern, the company’s chief marketing officer.

The consultant who managed the company’s FDA application had worked closely with Strobridge at Stryker (NYSE: SYK) the Michigan-based medical technology company that acquired … Next Page »

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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