Glyscend To Revolutionize Diabetes Treatment With Ingestible Device

Glyscend To Revolutionize Diabetes Treatment With Ingestible Device
In 2014, close to half a billion people lived with diabetes. It is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputations, and in 2012, an estimated 1.5 million deaths were directly caused by the disease. In addition to devastating health consequences, diabetes and its complications bring about substantial economic loss to people and their families, as well as health systems and national economies. Type 2 diabetes comprise the majority of people with diabetes around the world, and is now occurring increasingly frequent in children.

Traditional management strategies, coupled with diet and exercise, can be effective at controlling the symptoms of the disease. However, recent studies have shown bariatric surgery to have profound beneficial effect, not only on obesity but also on type 2 diabetes independent of weight loss. Unfortunately, surgery is not an options for the vast majority of type 2 diabetes patients due to associated risks and eligibility requirements.

The Baltimore-based startup Glyscend is determined to develop a revolutionary, non-invasive approach to treat type 2 diabetes that act on the same mechanism as a surgery. They have identified the interruption of key signaling pathways as a primary mechanism behind bariatric surgery’s efficacy, and is developing an orally ingestible intestinal coating that will mimick the very same mechanism. The coating prevents stimulation of duodenal mucosa and inhibits key neurohormonal pathways in the proximal gut, providing the therapeutic benefits of this surgery in a pill form. So far, the pill has shown efficacy in small diabetic animal models and the startup has optimized the technology for large animal testing in late 2016 and human testing in 2017.

Millions of people around the world suffer from type 2 diabetes and desperately need an effective strategy to keep glucose levels under control. While proven effective as a treatment, bariatric surgery is widely unavailable to many patients. In the US, a country with over 25 million suffering from the disease, fewer than 50,000 surgeries are performed annually. Glyscend has developed an innovative technology that extend the therapeutic benefits to much wider patient populations, providing physicians with the tools they need to treat the disease instead of merely managing it.

In addition, diabetes imposes a large economic burden on the healthcare system, and accounted for over 11% of the total healthcare expenditure in the world in 2010. That amounts to over $370 billion to prevent and treat the disease and its complications. The revolutionary, non-invasive approach by Glyscend could significantly reduce these numbers, while preserving the traditional care pathway and bring control to the lives of millions around the globe.

The team behind Glyscend came together at Johns Hopkins University and their CBID program, and the startup was founded in 2014. Since then, they have attracted funding from VentureWell, TEDCO, the Coulter Translational Partnership at Johns Hopkins, as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation. Earlier 2016, the startup won 2nd place in the T1D Exchange’s Diabetes Innovation Challenge, the 2nd place in the ADA HealthTech Showcase in Palo Alto, as well as winning the $500,000 Johnson&Johnson Quickfire Challenge.