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Novel insulin being developed to enable implantable insulin pumps

Medtronic Diabetes have announced they are funding the biopharmaceutical company Arecor Therapeutics to develop a novel, highly concentrated, thermostable insulin, which will be specialised for use in implantable insulin pumps.
Content last reviewed and updated: 15.05.2024

A row of vials of clear liquid with black lids. A blue gloved hand is pinching the top of the closest vial as if to pick it up.

Arecor and Medtronic have announced they are joining forces to create a new type of insulin that is highly concentrated and can withstand temperature changes. These features are intended to allow the insulin to be used in new insulin pumps which are being designed to sit under the skin rather than on the surface of the skin.

Early stage of development

Although still at an early stage of development, this new insulin has the potential to bring significant advancements in the current insulin treatment options for a small population of people with type 1 who are struggling to manage their condition with the insulin pumps currently available. The products will need to go through development and clinical trials. Once this is complete, this novel insulin could minimise the need for pump maintenance interventions and help healthcare professionals support their patients, whilst saving healthcare costs.

Medtronic Diabetes

Medtronic Diabetes is the arm of the medical technology company Medtronic that is focused on developing products for type 1 diabetes. Medtronic makes a range of type 1 technology including insulin pumps, smart insulin pens and continuous glucose monitors.

Gary Dulak, Senior Director, New Venture Programs Medtronic Diabetes, said: “Medtronic Diabetes is a pioneer in implantable insulin pump systems for people living with type 1 diabetes, who are unable to tolerate conventional therapy that delivers insulin subcutaneously (under the skin). With an implantable insulin pump system, insulin delivery is targeted for direct absorption by the liver via the implantable pump. We are pleased to collaborate with Arecor to explore new ways to develop this critical therapeutic option for the subset of individuals who may benefit from it.”

Arecor Therapeutics

Arecor Therapeutics is a globally focused biopharmaceutical company that develops innovative medicines which enhance existing therapeutic products.

Sarah Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Arecor, said: “Within the diabetes field more broadly we are seeing the rise of innovative insulin delivery devices, including longer-wear and miniaturised pumps that are continually improving treatment options for patients. We are excited to play our part in this progress with the development of a highly differentiated insulin with the potential to transform treatment for an extremely vulnerable patient group. This collaboration is one of many we hope to enable, to further enhance the benefits of these next-generation devices.”

JDRF’s partnership with Arecor

Back in 2016, we began partnering with Arecor to accelerate the development of a stable, rapid-acting, ultraconcentrated insulin. This novel insulin was designed to help people with high insulin needs and enable the development of smaller, more user-friendly insulin pumps. Then, in 2019, Arecor and JDRF signed a joint research, development and commercialisation agreement to develop a mixture of pramlintide and insulin to avoid people having to give themselves separate injections of the two drugs.

Rachel Connor, Director of Research Partnerships at JDRF UK, said: “Thanks to our support, JDRF helped to establish Arecor as a successful insulin start-up company. We’re delighted to see Arecor continue the initiative of developing the next generation of insulins and partnering with Medtronic to transform insulin pumps. With new forms of insulin come new opportunities for more innovative delivery systems and a less burdensome life with type 1 diabetes.”

Novel insulins

We need new insulins that work faster and more effectively so that we can unlock the potential of fully closed loop systems and make managing type 1 diabetes easier for those living with it. So, we are focused on developing the next generation of insulins, which includes fast-acting insulins, glucose-responsive ‘smart’ insulins and different delivery methods, such as weekly insulins and insulin pills. You can find out more about our work to develop novel insulins on the Type 1 Diabetes Grand Challenge website.

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