Zealand Pharma completes $5m investment in Beta Bionics

In brief: InventisBio raises $70m to advance candidates to phase 2 trials
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Danish biotech Zealand Pharma has completed a strategic $5 million investment in Beta Bionics, a med-tech company the iLet bionic pancreas system.

The iLet is a pocket-sized, dual-chamber, autonomous, glycaemic 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 device will utilise 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 $1.5 million equity investment in Beta Bionics with an option to invest a further $3.5 million pending the achievement of specific development milestones.

Zealand has now exercised this option based on the significant regulatory and clinical progress seen throughout 2018.

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 2019.

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 hypoglycaemic events (low blood sugar), and reduced need for correcting the low blood glucose with excessive food intake.

Zealand Pharma has demonstrated in multiple clinical trials that dasiglucagon is effective in preventing and correcting insulin-induced low plasma glucose events (hypoglycaemia).

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.