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Freedom Meditech Raises $4.8M to Commercialize Ocular Scanner

Xconomy San Diego — 

Freedom Meditech, a San Diego medical diagnostic company, said it has raised $4.8 million in a Series C financing round, bringing total venture funding to about $14 million in the nine years since the company was founded.

The company also named John Gerace as CEO and as a member of the company’s board of directors.

Gerace previously headed the applied sciences division of Carlsbad, CA-based Life Technologies, leaving at the beginning of 2014 as Waltham, MA-based Thermo Fisher Scientific completed its $13.6 billion acquisition of Life Technologies. Before that, Gerace served as vice president and general manager of the PCR systems business at Life Technologies.

Gerace also recently co-founded San Clemente, CA-based Calabri Biosciences, which manages a portfolio of assets involved in wireless health diagnostics and monitoring.

He is stepping in for founder Craig Misrach, who has served as CEO since Freedom Meditech was founded in 2006. Misrach remains involved, according to a spokesman for the company. He became vice-chairman of Freedom Meditech’s board in April 2014.

In a recent statement, Freedom Meditech said Gerace would oversee all operations, build the management team and lead the company’s fundraising efforts to expand commercialization of the ClearPath DS-120, an ocular examination device.

The technology uses a blue light to scan the eye, which causes the lens of the eye to emit light naturally, or autofluoresce. The system then measures the intensity of the autofluoresence, which has been correlated to the presence of sugar molecules in the eye lens. Higher autofluorescence measurements have been linked to higher levels of sugared proteins that accumulate from aging and the presence of systemic disease, the company says.

The FDA cleared the device in 2013 as a non-invasive method that optometrists and ophthalmologists could use to screen their patients for diabetes. The device also has been cleared for sale in Europe and Canada.

The company’s second product currently in development is a non-invasive ophthalmic glucose monitor that measures glucose levels in the eye for people with diabetes, to replace the finger-prick technologies currently in the market.