Diabeloop breaks therapeutic AI fundraising record
December 17, 2019
French start-up Diabeloop has completed a €31m series B round of funding, setting what it claims is a European fundraising record in the area of therapeutic artificial intelligence (AI). The products it develops use AI to automate and personalise diabetes management.
The core of the company's first automated insulin delivery system is a self-learning algorithm hosted in a dedicated handset. In combination with a continuous glucose measurement system and an insulin pump, the device almost completely automates the treatment of type-one diabetes.
The clinical and quality-of-life benefits provided by this were demonstrated through a series of clinical trials, the results of which were presented at the American Diabetes Association 2018 congress and published in The Lancet. Thanks to these outcomes, the company was granted CE marking.
Reducing the burden of diabetes management is a benefit recognised by patients in clinical trials and confirmed by the success of the product's French pre-launch.
"Our technology is unique,” said Erik Huneker, founder and co-CEO of Diabeloop. “The Diabeloop-developed algorithm adapts to the physiology and lifestyle of each person, which means the glucose trend prediction and insulin delivery are customised. Patients have provided extremely positive feedback, especially in terms of quality of life, as the daily burden of multiple therapeutic decisions is alleviated."
Millions of people live with type-one diabetes around the world. Cemag Invest led the €22m equity raise.
Cemag Invest funds start-ups with high growth potential that are dedicated to technological innovation in healthcare. It was joined in this funding round by new investors Adag, Odyssée Venture and Agir à dom.
The management of Diabeloop and the investors of the series A round of funding – Air Liquide Venture Capital (Aliad), Supernova Invest, Sofimac Innovation, Kreaxi, Crédit Agricole and the CERITD – all decided to reinvest. Additionally, three major banks have joined Diabeloop's existing group of debt financiers, including BPI France.
Diabeloop has also been awarded an IPME phase-two grant by Horizon 2020, a European programme for research and innovation, and has received renewed support from EIT Health, for the company's D4Teens programme.
"Having been able to combine the new syndicate of investors with historical backers on this series B round of financing is a notable expression of confidence in the foundation and capabilities of Diabeloop," said Marc Julien, co-CEO of Diabeloop. "The new investors, led by Cemag Invest, which is particularly interested in creating value for patients, enable us to launch an unprecedented fundraising event in the therapeutic artificial intelligence sector. Today we can say that Diabeloop is on track for rapid international deployment, which will make our devices accessible to the greatest possible number of patients."
The company is in the process of obtaining a national reimbursement agreement in France and discussions are underway with notable German health plans. This financing will support Diabeloop's commercial roll-out strategy in major international markets.
In the USA, the funding will allow the company to submit its application for market clearance with the FDA and launch its commercial plan to enter the American market. A study to support the FDA submission is forthcoming.
Diabeloop is working to meet the specific needs of every person living with type-one diabetes as well as those of their caregivers. Following the development of its medical device for adults, clinical trials began in three paediatric centres in Europe, studying the adaptation of the artificial pancreas to children's physiology and lifestyle.
Other clinical studies are also underway or planned to address problems experienced by other groups of people with diabetes, such as adolescents and those with highly unstable diabetes.
Diabeloop was founded in 2015 and has 60 employees.