March 2020

Welcome to the March update from Banting! Our team is currently under a shelter-in-place order, but that hasn’t stopped our progress. We’re very close to publicly announcing our launch date [hint: it’s soon!]. Remember, waitlist members get first access to Banting – lucky you! Know someone else who wants to save money on insulin? Spread the word! Our waitlist signup is here

Dealing with COVID-19 is especially difficult for our patients. Diabetics are a high-risk group for the virus, and the need for cost savings is growing by the day as layoffs impact income and health insurance access. We want to be an available resource to you as quickly as possible, and in addition to expediting our launch timeline we are also working to create helpful information that we’ve had trouble finding. 

Our monthly update will always include a summary of the most important news and discoveries from the previous month. Scroll down for a fast update of everything you need to know to be up-to-date!

FDA changes rules for insulin in hopes of decreasing costs 

If insulin were discovered today, it would be evaluated by the FDA as a “biologic”—a category of drugs that are manufactured by biological systems. However, insulin has been around for so long that it was grandfathered in with the small molecule drugs. The FDA believes this made it harder for insulin generics to be approved, which has contributed to the high prices of insulin. In the hopes of increasing competition and decreasing cost, the FDA recategorized insulin as a biologic on March 23. 

Progress towards stem cell treatment for T1D

It feels like we’ve been talking about the potential for T1D stem cell therapies for a long time…so why haven’t type 1 patients seen any changes in their treatment options? One of the challenges in advancing stem cell therapies has been making sure that enough of the stem cells become the right type of cells (not all pancreas cells make insulin!). But a new approach not only allows cells to produce insulin but makes a patient’s cells better at producing insulin too! 

Startups: a promising source of new diabetic treatment innovations

Academic research labs test and discover how things work in a controlled environment; startups test and discover how things work in the real world. The word startup may make you think “Facebook” or “Airbnb”, but in reality, there are thousands of new startups every year tackling everything from diabetes to drones. March 16 was Demo Day for Y Combinator, a prominent program for promising startups. Phone-compatible glucose strips, type 2 diabetes interventions, and a new approach to measuring biomarkers were some of the businesses. Read more about the promising new diabetic treatments and supplies startups are creating here!

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