UF Startup Turns to Crowdfunding with $1 Million Goal
ALACHUA, Fla. -- A University of Florida startup is launching a crowdfunding campaign for what could be a revolutionary invention for diabetics.
Prometheon Pharma, LLC is a company at the award-winning Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator developing a painless, convenient way of taking medicines that currently require painfulneedles.
It's called The TruePatchTM, and it could be life changing for people living with diabetes - which often requires insulin injections to manage.
Stephen Hsu, MD, PhD, a clinical scientist and nephrologist by training, says it took him less than a second to decide what medication they would focus on initially.
"[Diabetes] is a global problem in developed and developing countries," Dr. Hsu says.
Insulin injections, and the needles used to deliver them, have remained largely unchanged for almost a century. It's that delivery method company founder Dr. Hsu set out to change.
"Any product we produce should be simple, sustainable and scalable," he says, "And so it has to be something simple; simple is actually very sophisticated and hard to do."
For the past several years, Prometheon Pharma has filed patents, sought out funding, and developed their idea of a needle-free patch.
"These kind of companies have long childhoods," Sid Martin Biotechnology Incubator Director Patti Breedlove explains, "They need a lot of money for many years to get their products to market, so they're always looking for new sources of funding."
In fact, they've turned to crowd funding site Indiegogo for help getting started.
"This is really as much an awareness campaign as it is a funding campaign," Director of Business Development Devon Grimme says, "If everyone that this affected made a donation, we'd have the funding tomorrow."
The #NoPricks campaign launched this week; they have less than 40 days to raise $1 million.
Much of the money will allow for large animal studies required by the FDA to apply for human trials. Dr. Hsu says they're starting with insulin, but this concept could be applied to many other drugs.
"If you can use a band-aid, you can use a patch, we want to make it that simple," he says.
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