Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on innovative solutions for the healthcare sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we decided to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising startups tackling type 1 diabetes (T1D).
Heat Map: 5 Top Startups Tackling Type 1 Diabetes
Using our StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 1.379.000+ startups & scaleups globally, we looked at innovation in the field of healthcare. For this research, we identified 72 relevant solutions and picked 5 to showcase below. These companies were chosen based on a data-driven startup scouting approach, taking into account factors such as location, founding year, and relevance of technology, among others. Depending on your specific criteria, the top picks might look entirely different.
The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 startups & scaleups developing solutions to tackle type 1 diabetes. Moreover, the Heat Map reveals regions that observe a high startup activity and illustrates the geographic distribution of all 72 companies we analyzed for this specific topic.
AnTolRx – Antigen-Specific Immune Tolerance
Type 1 diabetes, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, is an immune system disorder that affects people of all ages. In particular, children and younger people are diagnosed with this chronic disease as they begin to show early signs of symptoms. In T1D, beta cells in the pancreas behave as autoantigens (AAgs) and elicit an autoimmune response. Emergent pharma startups work to target AAgs to correct the functioning of the affected cells in the pancreas.
The US-based startup AnTolRx utilizes its patented nanotechnology platform to develop targeted therapeutics for type 1 diabetes. The startup’s nanoformulations consist of two key ingredients that induce an anti-inflammatory signal and identify the target antigen. The tolerance molecule then modulates the immune system to induce antigen-specific immune tolerance. AnTolRx’s lead candidate for the treatment of T1D, in partnership with Pfizer and JDRF, is currently undergoing preclinical studies.
Diabeloop – Therapeutic Artificial Intelligence (AI)
Without high efficacy treatments to counter T1D, patients find it difficult to continuously monitor their blood glucose levels and take timely insulin injections. The introduction of insulin pumps improves the release of the hormone but is still not user-friendly, causing a further mental burden on insulin-dependent diabetics. MedTech startups are developing innovative AI-based solutions to help patients digitally monitor and manage their insulin levels.
French startup Diabeloop offers DBLG1, a hybrid closed-loop system for type 1 diabetes. DBLG1 is an external medical device that connects a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), an insulin patch pump, and a dedicated handset that hosts the startup’s decision-making algorithm. The CGM sends a glucose reading to the handset via Bluetooth, and then the startup’s therapeutic AI algorithm analyzes the patient’s physiology, history, food, and activity data to determine the dose of insulin to administer. Further, the system is personalized, configurable, and secure.
IPaDiC – Implantable Insulin Pump
There are several limitations to using existing insulin pumps. High-quality devices are not typically affordable for all patients. Even though the devices are small, they still pierce into the skin and must be worn at all times. Moreover, patients need to understand their blood glucose levels and instruct the devices to release insulin. However, device malfunctions or sub-optimal dosage often leads to various complications. This, in turn, prompts emerging MedTech startups to provide solutions that overcome this gap and ease the burden on patients.
IPaDiC is a Dutch startup providing DiaLin, an implantable insulin pump for people with disrupted subcutaneous insulin absorption. The advanced pump consists of a compact reservoir and a service unit that inserts into the abdominal wall with a relatively simple procedure. The accompanying MyDiaLin app ensures optimal control, security, and functionality of the implant. The insulin pump is compact, offers easy refilling and maintenance, and is also suitable for children.
Encellin – Cell Encapsulation Technology
Cell transplantation offers promise for T1D treatment by replenishing beta cells. While performing cell transplants, patients are usually administered with immunosuppressants to ensure the body does not attack the new cells. Without the continuous use of the immune system suppressing drugs, the transplant fails. Cell encapsulation techniques eliminate the need for these drugs by ensuring there is no contact between the transplanted cells and the immune cells of the body.
The US-based startup Encellin utilizes proprietary cell encapsulation technology for cell transplantation without immunosuppressive drugs. The startup uses an ultrathin nanoporous membrane for encapsulation that reduces the danger of immune rejection or harmful fibrosis at the transplant site. Encellin’s device encapsulates glucose-sensitive, insulin-producing islet cells in a pouch. On implantation just under the skin, the encapsulated islet cells communicate chemically with the bloodstream and respond to changes in glucose to provide insulin.
POLTREG – Regulatory T Cell (Treg) Therapy
Regulatory T cells control the immune system by maintaining tolerance to self-antigens and preventing autoimmune diseases. For patients living with type 1 diabetes, Tregs do not provide the required protection and allow the illness to complicate. Pharma startups are looking to revive or induce Tregs into patients with T1D to help their body fight the decaying of the pancreatic cells.
POLTREG is a Polish startup that obtains Tregs from a patient’s blood and performs ex-vivo expansion to increase the number of Tregs in insulin-dependent diabetics. The startup’s autologous therapy does not modify any cells but increases the Tregs count in T1D patients. This solution addresses the root cause of T1D and boosts immunoprotection against the harmful effects of the disease.
What About The Other 67 Solutions?
While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence and enable you to achieve your goals faster. The 5 solutions for Type 1 Diabetes showcased above are promising examples out of 72 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria, get in touch.