A cash injection of 63 million USD (approximately 50m GBP) will help fund human trials of the iLet autonomous bionic pancreas.
The device uses artificial intelligence technology to control insulin delivery. Beta Bionics Inc., the company that has developed the iLet system, is run by President and CEO Ed Damiano. Mr Damiano is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Boston University and has held a keen interest in improving diabetes care since his own child, now an adult, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at 11-months-old.
The iLet device has undergone years of development and testing to mimic the role of the pancreas. The multi-million-dollar funding will allow Beta Bionics to run phase 3 clinical trials that will allow humans with type 1 diabetes to test the iLet device in their own homes. The approval for this was granted by the US Food and Drug Administration in May 2018.
If the trials are successful, it will allow the company to apply for approval from the FDA for the device to be used by the public.
The iLet combines continuous glucose monitoring and insulin pump technologies with artificial-intelligence-assisted algorithms to track glucose levels and deliver intelligently calculated doses of insulin.
Beta Bionics has also developed a dual-hormone version of the device that delivers glucagon as well as insulin. Glucagon can help to further prevent risks of hypoglycemia. To date, the FDA has only given approval for the single-hormone bionic pancreas, that delivers insulin but not glucagon, to be trialed at home. We will await to see if further approval comes through for the dual-hormone system in future.
Ed Damiano said: “We are delighted to have completed our first institutional financing of Beta Bionics. This is an historic milestone for Beta Bionics for sure, but it is also a noteworthy precedent for the medical technology industry and investment community, as well.
“The enthusiastic reception that we were met with from the investment community in 2018 led to a larger-than-anticipated Series B financing, which has put us in a strong position going into 2019 to advance our ambitious mission of bringing to market the worlds first, fully autonomous, bionic pancreas.”