TypeZero raises seed round to advance commercialization of UVA’s DiAs system on a smartphone or in pumps – June 29, 2015

TypeZero just announced a round of seed funding led by the Center for Innovative Technology and other undisclosed investors. There are no further details on the round’s size or terms, but as we noted in our ADA 2015 Closing The Loop Report, TypeZero aims to commercialize the UVA DiAs system on a smartphone or embedded into insulin pumps. The team is currently planning the International Diabetes Closed Loop (IDCL) trial, a proposed six-month, 240-patient study comparing a commercial-grade version of DiAs (either built into a pump or on a smartphone) to sensor-augmented pump therapy. There’s some controversy over whether this is the right comparator – certainly this is the most ambitious one, though we feel MDI would do just as well – plenty of patients are only using MDI til something better comes along, and the sensor augmented pump isn’t good enough for some (too much perceived hassle – for them or their providers). UVA/TypeZero are depending on the NIH’s $20 million initiative to support advanced artificial pancreas clinical trials – as we understand it, the one to three award recipients are expected to be notified quite soon. TypeZero now has a public webpage up, and the eight-person team includes CEO Chad Rogers and CTO Dr. Patrick Keith-Hynes (a noted technologist who originally developed the DiAs user interface on the phone); Dr. Boris Kovatchev is listed as the Chief Mathematician, though he is still fully employed at UVA. We look forward to further details on the necessary CGM/pump partnerships required for commercialization (we assume Dexcom will be the CGM and the pump will be Animas, Insulet, Roche, or Tandem), the FDA submission plan, and the go-to-market strategy. DiAs has gathered a very impressive 138,000+ hours of clinical trial use since 2008 (!), offering very broad experience and data to further refine a commercializable closed-loop system. TypeZero also has ambitions to move beyond closed-loop work to provide cloud-based, prescriptive analytics software to provide action, guidance and support to patients and clinicians across the entire spectrum of treatment (e.g., SMBG alone to CGM/pump). It’s great to hear that, since the closed loop expertise has much broader potential to aid patients/providers with pattern recognition and clinical decision support. Things are moving in this field – onward!