T1D Exchange pledges to invest millions in automated insulin delivery

By Jonah Comstock

Boston-based nonprofit T1D Exchange has announced its intentions to make a multi-million dollar investment in automated insulin delivery technologies, the smart algorithms that serve as the bridge between CGMs and insulin pumps in the quest to create an artificial pancreas.

“Type 1 diabetes is a disease that, since the invention of artificial insulin back in 1921, still plagues us because ultimately the decision about how much insulin the patient has to give lands squarely on the patient,” Dr. Henry Anhalt, chief medical officer at T1D Exchange and previously CMO and medical director of the artificial pancreas program at J&J’s Animas, told MobiHealthNews. “So the patient ultimately becomes the algorithm and the insulin delivery decision tree, because there are no systems that currently exist that can take the patient entirely out of the equation and allow the patient to rest, knowing that their insulin is going to be delivered without any thought.”

T1D Exchange isn’t disclosing how it is distributing the investment, but it will go to support various companies and researchers at the forefront of developing automated insulin delivery systems. 

Big news in this space broke last week when the FDA announced it had approved Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed looped system, though that product still requires the patient to manually dose insulin to counteract meals.

“This is a tremendous advance and Medtronic’s system represents an advance in the automated insulin delivery space, but there’s so much more that’s left to do and lots of companies and investigators are working diligently on doing that,” Anhalt said. “So our mission is to find a way to support companies, either through direct investment or through services, to advance this technology to the point, we hope, where patients actually will be removed from the equation so that they can live their lives without having to make thousands of decisions on a weekly basis and hundreds […] on a daily basis.”

Anhalt said that in addition to direct investment, T1D Exchange has a clinical trial data sharing network, a patient registry, and a community of some 20,000 engaged patients. The nonprofit recently completed a landscape analysis of the automated insulin delivery space and decided to make it a priority for investing. 

“We are well positioned to leverage our expertise and unique perspective to identify and support novel technologies,” Dana Ball, executive director and co-founder of T1D Exchange, said in a statement. “We aim to make strategic investments that significantly advance components of AID as well as accelerate differentiated system approaches—all with the goal of easing the burden for people living with type 1 diabetes.”