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Getting Smarter About Smart Insulin

JDRF is getting smarter about smart insulin.

They’re funding another round of Glucose-Reponsive Insulin research (explained in a webcast today) but this time they’re not handing over a lump sum; the Glucose-Responsive Insulin Prize will be offered in stages, with $100K for the “Ideation Challenge.”

Smart! A couple years ago, JDRF funded SmartCells‘ development of Smart Insulin, which made good progress. They completed proof-of-concept trials, moved into pre-clinical trials (happy mice!),

and were acquired by Merck in December of last year.  Whither Smart Insulin, whose patent now belongs to Merck?

Comments scrolling by during the webcast expressed doubt about whether Merck would bring Smart Insulin to market. There’s some reason to be hopeful. Merck has two Type2 drugs (Janumet & Januvia) that lower insulin resistance: Smart Insulin would be a great complement, and the T2 market would ensure the financial incentive.

Back to JDRF’s GRI Prize: participants will transfer IP rights to JDRF, protecting the IP even if the company is acquired.

And they’re crowd-sourcing the idea (partnering with InnoCentive) – we can all get in on it!

You have till mid-November to submit your ideas (know a smart chemist?).  Maybe Diabetes Mine can get in on the crowd-sourcing as well!

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. Hey, were you at the event at Microsoft last weekend? I was hoping to “randomly” run into you, haha! We were there, but just for the 2nd half of the day. Wish I was smart enough to come up with the way to make this…I would enjoy the prize $ as well as the benefits of the smart insulin for our kiddos!

    September 29, 2011
  2. Helene #

    Why was JDRF allowed to waste money on a drug only to be used to benefit Type 2 diabetes? I thought JDRF were solely for finding a cure for Type 1.

    January 14, 2012
    • Smart insulin is actually being developed for Type 1, since insulin is what keeps T1 diabetics alive. Dosing correctly is incredibly difficult, since the body’s needs change constantly, and being wrong results in dangerous highs (= long-term complications) or dangerous lows (=potential death). Smart insulin would automatically dose correctly, resulting in normal (or very near normal) blood sugar. The results would be wonderfully close to a cure. JDRF is focused on finding a cure.
      Insulin-dependent Type 2s could benefit as well, but not all Type 2s are insulin-dependent (most aren’t).

      January 14, 2012
  3. Sam #


    Is it just me that notices this or since Merck purchased the rights to smart insulin this research has just ‘died’ on the world wide web??

    I’ve also noticed the smart insulin website has been removed as well –

    Does anyone have any news about smart insulin?



    February 6, 2012
  4. science debunker #

    “Smart Insulin” is nothing more than another attempt by a dying, cash flush, big pharma to convince investors they still have viable R+D. Only one problem with “Smart Insulin” it relies on the use of Concanavalin A as the “glucose sensitive protein”. Snicker, yeah right Merck! like the FDA is going to let you inject Con A into humans on a daily basis.
    Smart Cells never once demonstrated the feedback mechanism they touted, and once again big pharma fell for suspect science done by a fly by night startup, or did they really “fall”.

    Those in the know have seen many of ridiculous ideas bought, only to quietly fall by the wayside, and be given back. But hey, if it boosts the stock price a little, the CEO and shareholders cash in and who cares.

    “lets blind them with science”…..

    March 12, 2012
    • Robert Brackett #

      Still beating that dead horse Steve?

      June 23, 2012

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