Protomer Technologies Takes Top Prize in 2018 Diabetes Innovation Challenge
Revolutionary “smart” drug could prevent hypoglycemia in people with diabetes
Protomer Technologies’ pipeline glucose-responsive glucagon is expected to sense low sugar levels and automatically activate to restore blood sugar levels to prevent potentially life-threatening hypoglycemia (a dangerous drop in blood sugar levels).
“Every person with type 1 diabetes who takes insulin lives in fear of hypoglycemia, and for some, it means they never quite achieve optimal insulin levels,” said Protomer Technologies Founder and CEO Albortz Mahdavia, PhD. “The visibility and exposure of winning the Diabetes Innovation Challenge, along with the first-place prize, will be invaluable in our efforts to bring this smart-drug technology to people with diabetes as soon as possible.”
Winners were announced following presentations from ten finalists during a public Pitch Off yesterday at the Royal Sonesta in Cambridge, MA.
T1D Exchange is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to accelerating treatments and improving care for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). The organization and its sponsors launched the Diabetes Innovation Challenge in 2016 to connect innovators in the diabetes space, diabetes industry leaders and individuals with the disease.
The Second-Place winner is New York start-up Bonbouton, which has designed a smart shoe insole to continuously monitor people with diabetes for foot ulcers that can lead to amputations. Bonbouton will receive $25,000 and up to $50,000 of in-kind support.
The Third-Place winner is Boston-area based Cam Med for an ultra-thin, bandage-like patch pump that has the potential to greatly improve medication compliance and lower costs, especially for patients with challenging medication regimens that involve frequent injections.
Two People’s Choice Winners of online public voting were also named. Autonomous_ID of Ottawa, Canada, is working to develop a self-contained biometric identification and monitoring technology called Smart Sole Salvation to support self-care management of diabetes. SciDogma Research of Bengaluru, Karnataka, India, is developing an E-pancreas with a closed loop delivery system.
“We are thrilled to support the advancement of these exciting solutions and the potential they hold for the 30 million people living with diabetes,” said T1D Exchange President and CEO Dana Ball. “Previous awardees have used our support to move from a promising idea to the brink of approval. We expect no less from this year’s winners.”
This year’s lead sponsors were The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and JDRF. Other sponsors included the American Diabetes Association, Eli Lilly and Company and Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
“JDRF’s mission is to accelerate life-changing breakthroughs to cure, prevent and treat type 1 diabetes and its complications,” said Julia Greenstein, PhD, vice-president of research strategy at JDRF and one of the judges of this year’s event. “We are thrilled with the potential each one of these proposals has to make a difference for people with type 1 diabetes.”
“When my wife was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, I came to understand just how many people with diabetes could benefit from this technology,” said Bonbouton Co-Founder and CEO Le Linh. “The support of the Diabetes Innovation Challenge, and the people I have met through this program, will help us put our idea to work to keep people with diabetes healthy and prevent thousands of foot amputations each year.”
“Although wearable insulin pumps have gotten smaller, there has been a need to make them more effective, more comfortable and less obtrusive to improve both insulin control and the quality of life for people with type 1 diabetes,” said Cam Med CEO Laurence Alberts. “You can’t put a price tag on what it means to the advancement of the Evopump patch pump to have the support of T1D Exchange and the Diabetes Innovation Challenge.”
In all, 60 proposals from 17 countries were submitted across four categories: automated insulin devices; diagnostics; therapeutics; and technology design/disease management.
“We are already seeing progress in the type 1 diabetes space as a result of the support the Diabetes Innovation Challenge provided to the 2016 winners,” said David Panzirer, a trustee of the Helmsley Charitable Trust and one of the judges of this year’s event. “This outstanding event advances diabetes solutions and exemplifies the innovative thinking that Helmsley is committed to supporting.”
“In just two short years we have seen the Diabetes Innovation Challenge grow to become a showcase for new ideas and an international driver of progress,” said Jay Mohr, president and CEO of Dirigo Therapeutics and a member of the Board of T1D Exchange. “More importantly, it has provided pivotal resources and financial support to transform these ideas into better care for people living with diabetes.”
About Type 1 Diabetes
Studies show that at least 1.25 million Americans are living with type 1 diabetes, including more than 200,000 young people under the age of 20. Alarmingly, there was a 21 percent increase in the prevalence of type one diabetes among young people from 2001-2009, with 40,000 new cases diagnosed each year. At the current rate, the number of people with type 1 diabetes is expected to grow to more than 5 million people in the U.S. by 2050.
About T1D Exchange
T1D Exchange is a nonprofit research organization dedicated to accelerating therapies and improving care for people affected by type 1 diabetes. T1D Exchange actively supports discovery and innovation—particularly at its earliest stages. At the same time, the organization asserts that evidence gathered in the “real world” can help bridge the gap between discovery in research settings and impact in people’s lives.
The T1D Exchange model uses cutting-edge research tools, methods and programs to gather biological samples from people living with type 1 diabetes, as well as evidence from their real-world experiences. The goal is to link patient samples, data and insight to all stages of research and development, advancing the development of therapies and better care for everyone affected by type 1 diabetes.
The T1D Diabetes Innovation Challenge is proudly powered by Skild.
For more information about the 2018 Diabetes Innovation Challenge or T1D Exchange, please contact John Gillespie at (314) 708-9090 Jgillespie@T1DExchange.org or Rebecca Parkes, Chief Advancement Officer at (617) 892-6100 RParkes@T1DExchange.org.