Founded in 2006, Massachusetts-based biotechnology startup Gelesis has raised a total of $118.2 million for developing an oral smart pill. In 2016, the company initially filed an IPO offering of $60 million, but pulled out and instead focused on raising more funding. The technology is based on capsules filled with tiny hydrogel particles that expand between 50 to 100 times their weight in size after absorbing water from the stomach, which results in increased satiety to help obese diabetes patients lose weight and control their sugar metabolism. They are currently undergoing a phase 2 clinical trial on their Gelesis200 product for treating diabetes.
Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar), which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves. The most common is type 2 diabetes, usually in adults, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin or doesn't make enough insulin. In the past three decades the prevalence of type 2 diabetes has risen dramatically in countries of all income levels. Type 1 diabetes, once known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, is a chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin by itself. For people living with diabetes, access to affordable treatment, including insulin, is critical to their survival. There is a globally agreed target to halt the rise in diabetes and obesity by 2025.