Challenge Alumni Stories

Challenge Alumni Stories 2018-02-19T05:46:13+00:00

Diabetes Innovation Challenge Success Stories

Today, the world is inter-connected in ways we can’t even imagine. The next big innovation in diabetes might come from an academic researcher who has dedicated her career to diabetes – or it might come from a university student in Beijing with a really great idea…but needs help getting it to the next level.

T1D Exchange started the Diabetes Innovation Challenge to

  • find innovators across the globe
  • give them broad exposure with the movers and shakers in diabetes, from funders to partners and collaborators
  • and fast-track novel innovations that can improve the lives of 30 million people living with diabetes.

Read about some successes from our 2016 Challenge.

Polyphotonix has developed a home-based, non-invasive treatment for Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO)

PolyPhotonix is a bio-photonic business based in the UK that has developed a home-based, non-invasive, monitored treatment for one of the principal causes of blindness in the western world, Diabetic Retinopathy (DR) and Diabetic Macular Oedema (DMO).

The Noctura 400 Sleep Mask offers a novel and innovative treatment for people with diabetes who have serious sight complications, and it could significantly change the patient experience and related costs when compared with current treatments. This treatment is currently offered in the UK.

In their own words – why did PolyPhotonix compete in the inaugural Diabetes Innovation Challenge?

“The potential impact of the Noctura 400 treatment in the U.S. is significant.
It was also very important for us to raise the profile of PolyPhotonix in the U.S. so we could expand our contacts with key opinion leaders, build investor relationships, develop awareness with the patient community, which will be helpful as we proceed through the FDA process in the U.S., prior to our official launch in that important market.”

What has been the impact of your Challenge win?

“Over the past few years we have won several awards, however when PolyPhotonix was one of the winners of the Diabetes Innovation Challenge it was the one honor that made a real a difference for the company.

The awareness of PolyPhotonix and the product grew rapidly with both patients and clinicians in the U.S. We are now engaged with influential U.S. opinion leaders in ophthalmology and several investors from the market. This combination has been very powerful for our business and it has accelerated the development of the company across the board.”

As you have continued to develop your product, how has your partnership with T1D Exchange accelerated the development process?

We now have a clear plan and financing to guide us through FDA approvals, which was facilitated by the knowledge and contacts PolyPhotonix made through T1D Exchange and the Challenge.

Glyscend, Inc: Developing Transformative Therapies for Metabolic Diseases

Glyscend, Inc is developing transformative therapies for metabolic diseases (such as type 2 diabetes and obesity) by reducing the concept of bariatric (gastric bypass) surgery into a pill. Bariatric surgery has been shown to have a profound beneficial effect, not only on obesity but also on Type 2 diabetes independent of weight loss. Based on the insights from these surgeries, Glyscend is developing the first orally administered intestinal barrier which mimics the intestinal bypass portion of bariatric surgery, thus providing the therapeutic benefits of this surgery in a pill form.

In their own words – what Glyscend leaders have to say about participating in the Diabetes Challenge:

Why did Glyscend decide to compete in the inaugural Diabetes Innovation Challenge?

“Both T1D Exchange and Challenge sponsor M2D2 (The Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center; a joint venture of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Worcester campuses) are internationally recognizable names in the field of metabolic disease. The opportunity to compete on this stage was both strategic and reflective for Glyscend.”

What has been the impact of your Challenge win?

“Since our triumph at the Diabetes Innovation Challenge, Glyscend has won $1,000,000 in additional non-dilutive capital from the Johnson & Johnson Quickfire Challenge and the National Science Foundation Phase 2 Grant. The Challenge was great exposure and its validation helped propel the company to this funding.”

In addition to the cash prize from the Challenge, the competition provided six-months of free lab space at the M2D2 facility in Lowell, Massachusetts. As a direct result of the award, we moved our lab facility from Baltimore to Lowell, hired local talent, and our R&D efforts have accelerated tremendously.

CamMed: Developing Bandage-Like, Ultra-Thin and Flexible Patch Pumps

CamMed is applying microfluidics to develop affordable, patient-friendly, precise and actively-controllable drug delivery devices including the Evopump, the first truly bandage-like, ultra-thin and flexible patch pump for delivering injectable drugs. An actively-controllable, automatically-filled, wearable and disposable device, the Evopump has the potential to greatly improve compliance to challenging regimens that require frequent of injections of medication.

In their own words: Why did CamMed decide to compete in the inaugural Diabetes Innovation Challenge?

“Participating in the Challenge provided us with the positive validation of our device that we were seeking, it also raised our profile and facilitated a number of introductions to key members of the T1D community.”

Is there a specific development, connection or benefit for in company that was a result of CamMed’s involvement in the Challenge?

“Our involvement in the Challenge led to two significant developments for Cam Med. First, we were introduced to JDRF, and this relationship has evolved into a formal partnership with the organization. JDRF has provided a substantial amount of support to the development of the Evopump. Secondly we became a resident company at M2D2, which is the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center at UMass Lowell. The M2D2 facility in Lowell has been the company’s base of operations, which has enabled us to build out our team and leverage both the university’s core research facilities as well as research support from the Plastics Engineering department.”

Integrated Medical (IMS) ‒ developed a tiny, implantable, fully-integrated wireless glucose sensor

IMS has developed the world’s smallest (1/3rd of a sesame seed) and the first fully-integrated wireless glucose sensor that is embedded just under the skin (3mm) using an 18-gauge needle, once every 6 months. The user wears an external wearable transmitter to power and gather data from the sensor. Via Bluetooth connection, the transmitter sends the users data to their smartphone which can be used for a variety of analytical applications.

In their own words: why did IMS decide to compete in the inaugural Diabetes Innovation Challenge?

“As a company IMS is committed to provide a solution that revolutionizes diabetes management experience for patients. From the beginning, the intention of our work with patients and patient advocacy groups has been to understand key pain points related to tracking glucose levels. The Diabetes Innovation Challenge was a focused avenue for IMS and our participation in the challenge enabled the company to expand and deepen our relationships with many of the important stakeholders in the field.”

What has been the impact of your Challenge win?

“The company was able to utilize some very important in-kind support and services and we gained significant traction with some very important stakeholders due to our win.
The support and assistance that we received as a result of the Challenge enabled us to successfully file an important patent application, were also entered another prestigious funding competition through one of the connections we established during the competition.”