Fongit grant for the startup Diabeto
The startup Diabeto has won an important grant from the Fongit foundation, the first innovation incubator in Switzerland. Created by Roberto Coppari, a Professor at the Department of Cellular Physiology and Metabolism of the Faculty of Medicine and coordinator of the Faculty Centre for Diabetes, and by Giorgio Ramadori, a Research Associate in Professor Coppari's lab, the ultimate goal of this startup is developing a revolutionary therapy that would allow type 1 diabetic patients to live without insulin. By allowing a drastic reduction of therapeutic insulin, the current approach would represent a fundamental first step towards achieving this ambitious goal.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the pancreatic beta cells, which are responsible for producing insulin. Without this hormone, patients are unable to regulate their metabolism; a defect that is lethal if untreated. Currently, the only treatment available is daily injections of artificial insulin. This treatment is suboptimal (e.g. it increases the risk of life-threatening hypoglycaemia); indeed, type 1 diabetic patients have reduced quantity and poorer quality of life compared to healthy individuals. "However, we have been able to demonstrate the protective and life-extending action of a hormone, called S100A9, which can significantly improve metabolism, while avoiding the most harmful side effects of insulin," explain Roberto Coppari and Giorgio Ramadori. "In the form of an oral drug, this protein could prolong the life of people with type-1 diabetes, and significantly improve their quality of life."
Roberto Coppari had already won a grant from the European Research Council (ERC) to establish groundwork for the industrial development of this innovative treatment based on the S100A9 protein. Fongit's support now allows Diabeto to take a further step towards clinical development.
Giorgio Ramadori (left) and Roberto Coppari (right) founders of the startup Diabeto
April 4, 2022