Copenhagen-based biotechnology company Zealand Pharma has completed $5m strategic equity investment in Beta Bionics, a medical technology company developing the iLet bionic pancreas system.


Image: Zealand Pharma invests in Beta Bionics. Photo: Courtesy of Zealand Pharma A/S.

The iLet is a pocket-sized, dual-chamber, autonomous, glycemic control system that mimics a biological pancreas by calculating and dosing insulin and/or glucagon as needed based on data from the diabetic patient’s continuous glucose monitor.

The iLet will utilize Zealand’s proprietary first-in-class stable glucagon analogue, dasiglucagon, in combination with insulin. This dual hormone therapy has the potential to significantly improve diabetes management for people who today are on insulin therapy.

In 2017, Zealand made an initial $1.5m equity investment in Beta Bionics with an option to invest a further $3.5m pending the achievement of specific development milestones. Zealand has now exercised this option based on the significant regulatory and clinical progress seen last year.

This strategic equity investment, as part of the Series B financing, further strengthens the collaboration between Zealand Pharma and Beta Bionics in moving forward with the Phase 3 program for iLet in this year.

Prior clinical studies have demonstrated that patients with type 1 diabetes using the autonomous dual hormone system spend significantly more time in the normal glucose range, had significantly fewer dangerous hypoglycemic events (low blood sugar), and reduced need for correcting the low blood glucose with excessive food intake (source: data on file).

Zealand chief medical and development officer Adam Steensberg said: “We are truly impressed with the clinical data generated so far with the iLet and excited by the progress in our collaboration with Beta Bionics. We look forward to starting the pivotal phase 3 development program in the second half of 2019.

“Zealand’s proprietary stable glucagon analogue, dasiglucagon, has great potential to dramatically improve Type 1 diabetes patient care and outcomes when used in cutting edge dual-hormone artificial pancreas pumps like the iLet.”

Zealand Pharma has demonstrated in multiple clinical trials that dasiglucagon is effective in preventing and correcting insulin-induced low plasma glucose events (hypoglycemia). With its unique stability profile in liquid formulations, dasiglucagon is strongly suited for use in dual-hormone artificial pancreas pump systems as already demonstrated with Beta Bionics’ iLet.

Beta Bionics president and CEO Ed Damiano said: “Our enduring commitment at Beta Bionics is to bring the dual-hormone iLet to market to improve the lives of as many people with type 1 diabetes as possible.

“We are very excited by the impressive results achieved with dasiglucagon in pre-clinical studies and clinical trials. We look forward to beginning our phase 3 pivotal trial program with the talented team at Zealand Pharma.”

Source: Company Press Release