Harvard spins out biologics-in-a-pill company with a focus on Type 1 diabetes

A new spinout from Harvard University hopes to one day have people with diabetes reach for a bottle of pills instead of the syringe when they need to take their frequent medications.

In 2018, researchers in the bioengineering laboratory of Harvard’s Samir Mitragotri published their methods for turning liquid drugs into a newly encapsulated and easy-to-swallow form, and demonstrated early success with insulin in animal models.

Now, i2O Therapeutics is starting out with $4 million in seed money—from Sanofi Ventures and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s T1D Fund—and plans to take that tech to GLP1 analogs, the glucagon-like peptides that can help maintain blood sugar levels.

“Our technology has the potential to enable the oral delivery of high-value drugs in a safer, more effective and patient-friendly way and also by easing the treatment burden for dozens of therapeutics that were previously restricted to intravenous or subcutaneous delivery,” said Mitragotri, the Hiller Professor of Bioengineering and Hansjorg Wyss Professor of Biologically Inspired Engineering.

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