Meet AgaMatrix

There are a handful of companies that have become household names for us PWDs: the leaders in meters, pumps, and insulin itself. You know which companies I mean. And then there lots of smaller, innovative companies successfully lurking — names you simply don’t hear very much until they hit the Big Time with a breakthrough product and/or get acquired by one of the Household Names. Seems to me like AgaMatrix is one of those lurkers.

Agamatrix_logo AgaMatrix is a six-year-old startup headquartered in Salem, NH. For at least several years now, it’s been pushing DTC (direct-to-consumer) marketing of its blood glucose meter products, based on its proprietary WaveSense platform — which uses “biosensor and dynamic electrochemistry technologies to enable high-accuracy glucose sensing.”

What this means to you and me is that the technology performs a kind of biological filtering to make the signal cleaner. According to the tech authorities, current glucose meters use a biosensor to take a blood sample, and then run a series of biochemical tests to filter out other material like Vitamin C that might give a false reading. AgaMatrix replaces those biochemical processes with a digital signal processor (DSP) that manipulates the biosensor directly, to “automatically discard any pollutants and focus solely on the glucose.” So it’s all about high-accuracy — a good thing for those of us exasperated by inconsistent (and ever-suspect) meter readings.

I met someone from AgaMatrix at the annual ADA Conference last year, and somehow got on their media list, it seems. I’ve received a few surprise packages with sample meters, and even a copy of their new, (tantalizingly named) Zero-Click software. A little about the products:

* The new Keynote meter is cute, cute, cute — and quite pleasant to use. (I now realize that a LibertyKeynote_meter_3 Medical meter I received a while back was an early, branded version). It’s a little rectangle with easy-grip rubber sides and a big, clear screen. The meter itself is just a tad bigger than Abbott’s FreeStyle Flash, but the whole package — case with meter, lancing device and strips — is SMALLER, by at least a half-inch. And we all know every half-inch counts :) I’ve actually been using this meter during bike training, ’cause it fits so nicely in my little bicycle seat bag. And I just luuv this lancing device, which looks like a longer, skinnier version of the FreeStyle model but has an even tinier needle and seems* to require even less blood. Can you believe?

[*In actuality, the FreeStyle boasts just 0.3 ml versus 0.5 ml for the Keynote, but the Keynote has excellent blood pick-up, if you know what I mean. Gads, who ever thought I'd become an expert on such things? Gross.]

Zeroclick_keyfeatures

* Their Zero-Click Software, approved by the FDA last fall, supposedly enables effortless download of your glucose meter data “via a USB-style connection.” To be honest, mine’s still sitting in the box, and as I write this, I’m wondering what “USB-style” means and why they didn’t just use a USB connection, which was created to do away with all the proprietary PC cable connectors in the first place, ay?

Anyway, the software seems pretty neat. It can be operated in two modes: home user mode, which is the no-brainer option for “self-testers,” and a professional mode designed for more advanced users and multi-patient support by health care providers.

The Daily Digest feature seems to offer a nice, clean view of your results, complete with pretty pie graphs and everything. And the proprietary Virtual Meter™ technology looks even better: it allows you to quickly and easily update numerous meter settings directly from your computer, with no need to navigate a bunch of confusing menus on the meter itself. Someone at AgaMatrix was using their Noggin’, I’m telling you, ’cause how many times have you wasted half an hour reading through your meter manual just to make some simple setting change?

Zero-Click supposedly lives up to its name, btw: you plug in the cord and it automatically identifies the meter, launches the software, dowloads your glucose results, and instantly displays your charts. Can’t wait to see that! Now if AgaMatrix can just get their system to automatically re-adjust your blood glucose whenever it’s out of range (no clicks necessary!), I’m sure they’ll be a Household Name by summer.

*** UPDATE 2: The AgaMatrix folks have sent me the following info:

Keynote is available at many independent pharmacies. We are continuously building our national presence. You can also order WaveSense products at (866) 906-4197 (AgaMatrix customer service). Below is the MSRP for the WaveSense(tm) Keynote Products:

BGM- $19
50 ct Strip Box – $28
100 ct Strip Box – $50

***

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24 Responses

  1. Jana
    Jana May 16, 2007 at 7:12 am | | Reply

    Wow, Amy, that meter does sound great (if it really is more accurate)! But is there any indication that insurance companies will cover the strips for the meters? Are the strips even relatively widely available? I can’t imagine how difficult it is for an innovative company to break into the diabetes market, since insurance companies have SO much to do with success, and we all know that insurance companies are not usually enthusiastic about new technologies (ehem…CGM).

  2. Lancet Queen
    Lancet Queen May 16, 2007 at 8:13 am | | Reply

    How cruel of them to show their meter connected to a Powerbook when the software apparently only supports Windows XP. :’(

  3. Joseph Flaherty
    Joseph Flaherty May 16, 2007 at 9:49 am | | Reply

    Amy,

    Thanks for the great review.

    My name is Joseph Flaherty and I head up the product design team at AgaMatrix.

    We are thrilled you like the product and couldn’t agree with you more regarding the need for better product design in this industry.

    Our goal is to provide the best glucose monitoring products for people with diabetes. If anyone in the d-blog community has thoughts on how we can make better blood glucose meters please feel free to email me: jflaherty@agamatrix.com.

    I can’t promise our designs will meet all your needs, but I can promise a personal response to any messages and to champion your ideas.

    Thanks!

    Joseph Flaherty
    Manager, Product Design
    AgaMatrix, Inc.

    http://www.agamatrix.com

    http://www.wavesense.info

  4. Kathleen Weaver
    Kathleen Weaver May 16, 2007 at 10:23 am | | Reply

    How do you get their meter/ test strips?

  5. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell May 16, 2007 at 10:29 am | | Reply

    Amy

    I’ve had the KeyNote for almost a week, and posted some initial thoughts on it (here http://tudiabetes.com/profiles/blog/show?id=583967%3ABlogPost%3A1084).

    I completely agree with you on the blood pick-up. The lack of visual feedback from the FreeStyle always made me nervous. I also like the countdown from the KeyNote, I’ll try and post a video of this later.

  6. Anne
    Anne May 16, 2007 at 11:07 am | | Reply

    I love these guys (at AgaMatrix). And I love their meter. They sponsored a dinner for a group of type 1′s running the Boston Marathon in 2006 and gave us all sample meters. I used it until I ran out of strips and did find that, at least, it was very precise. And my impression was also that it required less blood. They were very interested in our feedback on all aspects of the meter, including design. I wish my HMO covered their teststrips, because I would definitely use it. I’m not just saying this because the dinner was so good, either (although it was)! I also wonder how they can break into the BG monitoring market that is dominated by some pretty huge players.

    I was pretty sad to go back to my (unnamed) meter after I ran out of strips.

  7. Melissa
    Melissa May 16, 2007 at 2:11 pm | | Reply

    Anne, did you try to appeal the decision to deny the strips? My HMO recently told me I couldn’t have the Omnipod pump because they considered it “investigational”, however, my endo put in an appeal and they immediately decided to cover it for me. Of course, I forgot that in using the Omnipod I will have to use a Freestyle meter, so I’ll have to put in another appeal for those strips. Anyway, it’s quite standard to deny coverage the first time around, but if you put in an appeal they almost always cover whatever it is you’re appealing. Just ask your doctor to put in an appeal for you, and sign a release of information.
    Melissa

  8. Anne
    Anne May 16, 2007 at 9:08 pm | | Reply

    Thanks, Melissa, for the tip. I will give it another shot. Of course, now, I am also tied down to the Ultra meter for the Dexcom. But I would still use the AgaMatrix one for other testing (ie, when I am not calibrating the Dexcom).

  9. Tom Woolworth
    Tom Woolworth May 16, 2007 at 10:56 pm | | Reply

    I have used the Keynote meter for about three weeks. Great Meter … I have compared the Keynote to a brand name meter … I found the nubmers to be between 3 to 12 points difference.

    I have purchased additional strips for alot less than BRAND NAME Strips ($18.79 per 50). I have contacted my HMO and they will approve (AgrMatrix is not on the HMO Plan formulary). I could appeal the decision, however my cost is the same as outright purchase …

    I will continue to use the Keynote Meter and purchase strips out of pocket for the ease of use and accuracy …

    Tom Woolworth

  10. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell May 17, 2007 at 11:36 am | | Reply

    If you want to see what this meter looks like, I’m starting to create a photo set of the KeyNote meter on Flickr.

    You can see the photos here:
    http://tinyurl.com/yr89fx

    (Long URL, so I shrank it with TinyURL.)

  11. Medopedia
    Medopedia May 18, 2007 at 7:19 am | | Reply

    Continuous Glucose Monitoring

    Tracking software for glucose monitoring is available for at home PC use from several companies. One newer company is AgaMatrix. As noted on the blog Diabetes Mine,

    �Their Zero-Click Software, approved by the FDA last fall, supposedly enables …

  12. Bernard Farrell
    Bernard Farrell May 18, 2007 at 9:21 am | | Reply

    I’ve posted a short video of me using this meter on YouTube at:
    http://tinyurl.com/39gjgt

    (Not a YouTube URL because they’re SO LONG).

  13. Island in the Net
    Island in the Net May 19, 2007 at 3:01 pm | | Reply

    Amy,
    The cable IS a USB cable. There is no other way it could connect to a modern computer without one (unless it uses serial cables or firewire).

  14. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" May 19, 2007 at 3:13 pm | | Reply

    AgaMatrix WaveSenseKeynote

    Bernard Farrell, a blogger and diabetic, has posted a short video showing his use of a new blood glucose meter, the WaveSense Keynote, from AgaMatrix. I am not familiar with AgaMatrix or its products but being new to diabetes I am learning new things …

  15. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" May 19, 2007 at 3:13 pm | | Reply

    AgaMatrix WaveSenseKeynote

    Bernard Farrell, a blogger and diabetic, has posted a short video showing his use of a new blood glucose meter, the WaveSense Keynote, from AgaMatrix. I am not familiar with AgaMatrix or its products but being new to diabetes I am learning new things …

  16. "honey sweet"
    "honey sweet" May 19, 2007 at 3:13 pm | | Reply

    AgaMatrix WaveSenseKeynote

    Bernard Farrell, a blogger and diabetic, has posted a short video showing his use of a new blood glucose meter, the WaveSense Keynote, from AgaMatrix. I am not familiar with AgaMatrix or its products but being new to diabetes I am learning new things …

  17. AmyT
    AmyT May 21, 2007 at 8:15 am | | Reply

    Actually, Island, I’ve discovered that the ZeroClick uses a proprietary cable that functions with a USB port. But you can’t use just any generic USB cable with it — just to be clear.

  18. GJToth
    GJToth June 12, 2007 at 5:59 pm | | Reply

    On the strength of comments made by you and several others on various blogs and webpages, I purchased one of these. I was rather disappointed that to find out that the ONLY place I can get strips was online. But, even more of a disappointment is Agamatrix’s lack of any response via email when I made some inquiries. Seems if you don’t have a blog where they can get some free publicity, you don’t count. Too bad… I was REALLY looking forward to giving this little dandy a shot. Guess it’s back to my UltraSmart. :(

  19. Flaherty
    Flaherty July 27, 2007 at 6:12 am | | Reply

    GJToth,

    I’m sorry to hear about your experience. If you send me any questions you have I will answer them personally. Also, if you let me know which email address you used for the inquiries I will find out what happened.

    Best,

    Joseph Flaherty
    Manager, Product Design
    AgaMatrix, Inc.

    http://www.agamatrix.com

    http://www.wavesense.info

  20. gjtoth
    gjtoth August 16, 2007 at 4:30 pm | | Reply

    Mr. Flaherty,

    I used customerservice@agamatrix.com as it was on your website.

    Thanks.

  21. Chris
    Chris September 6, 2007 at 12:17 pm | | Reply

    Amy -
    Your blog about the Keynote (along with other bloggers) got me to researching this further. I decided to call AgaMatrix because the price for the monitor through AgaMatrix that you posted seemed better than any other place. So I called them and they gave me 2 websites where I could purchase it from. No option to buy it from them. Granted, the difference between $19 and $25.99 is not that big but and way to save a buck (or 7) sounds good to me.

  22. Kyle
    Kyle January 30, 2008 at 2:52 pm | | Reply

    Anyone know where I can find a “wireless Jazz” monitor? I know it is not sold in the US, what other countries can you get it from? The keynote is great, but I really want the wireless jazz. I can’t wait to order it and try it out:) :)

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