AgaMatrix finds funding; eyes IPO

Friday, December 28th, 2007
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With big plans for a European expansion, a New Hampshire maker of blood glucose-monitoring products has snatched a major round of private equity financing, a company official said.

AgaMatrix Inc., of Salem, N.H., has attracted new investment as its new diagnostic and software systems for diabetics gain adoption in the multibillion-dollar market for such products. The financing also comes within weeks of the firm hiring two top marketing executives, and the launch of a European subsidiary.

The firm closed a $23.7 million Series C financing, led by new investor Greenwich, Conn.-based private equity firm Ferrer Freeman & Co., according to a November U.S. Securities Exchange Commission filing and the firm’s CFO Jeffrey Templer. The private funding round is expected to lead to an initial public offering.

“I think this is the last round,” said Templer, who said the firm has raised a total $60 million in private capital. “It should be the last round before an IPO” in late 2008 to early 2009.

The company develops and provides blood-glucose test strips, handheld strip readers and companion software. The readers load blood-sugar data onto computers, and the firm’s software compiles the information to help patients manage diabetes. The firm has also developed a wireless reader that is awaiting U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.

Last month, the firm launched a European subsidiary called WaveSense Europe Ltd., and appointed Claudio Carboni, a former executive of Italian heath-care products firm A. Menarini Diagnostics, to head the business. Templer said the United Kingdom-based subsidiary of AgaMatrix is expected to open offices in Germany and Italy and employ 16 people by the end of 2008.

The company last week announced it had hired David Conn to be AgaMatrix’s chief commercial officer in charge of all sales and marketing. Conn is the former CEO of blood-glucose test provider Hypoguard Inc. (now a subsidiary of Japanese blood sugar-monitoring firm Arkray Inc. and known as Arkray USA) of Minnesota.

AgaMatrix now employs 15 sales and marketing workers in the United States, Templer said, and has a total of 96 employees, most of whom work in the Granite State.

Meantime, the company has shelved plans to buy a new manufacturing and office facility in New Hampshire in favor of expanding at its existing location in Salem, N.H., Templer said.

The firm had been considering the purchase of 83,000 square-foot facility in Pelham, N.H., as of June 2007.