CeQur's $100m financing to scale-up insulin delivery patch-pump production
The Series C financing led by Woodford Investment Management and Arthurian Life Sciences will be used to scale-up manufacturing of CeQur’s basal/bolus insulin infusion device, PaQ.
Set to launch in 2016, the product when filled with insulin and attached to the abdomen, will allow three days of continuous subcutaneous insulin delivery, offering people with type 2 diabetes an alternative to needles or insulin pens, the firm told us.
“Unlike with other devices such as needles or insulin pens, PaQ users don’t need to endure multiple needle sticks every day to receive their insulin, and unlike insulin pumps, PaQ has no upfront costs or arduous training requirements,” a company spokesman told in-Pharmatechnologist.com.
“When we launch next year, it will be with a device that has clinical-study data demonstrating both its clinical effectiveness and the ability of patients to successfully use the device with a high degree of satisfaction.”
CeQur – headquartered in Switzerland - will make the product at its facilities in Nordborg, Denmark and Marlborough, Massachusetts.
“We know that we can manufacture it at a cost that will be both affordable for insurance plans/patients and ensure a sustainable business” the spokesman said.
A patch on GLP-1s?
The news comes weeks after Unilife introduced Imperium, a multi-day wearable insulin delivery device which CEO Alan Shortall said has “the therapeutic advantages of a pump with the low cost and convenience of a prefilled, disposable pen.”
But while Imperium and PaQ are described as offering a more convenient alternative in managing type 2 diabetes, one observer has questioned why so much investment is being pumped – pardon the pun – into this form of delivery technology.
“Not only are there several companies with a patch pump, these systems are entering a fiercely competitive market and unlike years ago today cost is a huge concern,” said David Kliff, market analyst and author of publication Diabetic Investor.
“This competition is not limited to other insulin delivery systems but also new drugs long acting GLP-1’s (Glucagon-like peptide-1) in particular.”
Moreover, an oral GLP-1 could remove the need for any device, and last week developer of such a product Novo Nordisk announced an oral formulation of its drug semaglutide is set to enter Phase II trials.
The Danish drugmaker has pledged up to $2bn to support the manufacture of an oral formulation, and what’s more abandoned its collaboration with Zosana Pharma in July which had been investigating the delivery of the drug through a microneedle patch.
But despite these concerns, CeQur told us “people with the disease will always need a wide range of insulin delivery options to find one that fits perfectly with their lifestyles and comfort levels,” especially as the global type 2 diabetes population continues to grow.
“We believe that the need for a convenient, simple, wearable insulin delivery device – one that patients can put on and forget about injections for three days – will not go away any time soon.”