BU Biomedical Engineer Ed Damiano Raises $126 Million for Bionic Pancreas

Investors bank on socially minded public benefit corporation and its medical device for people with type 1 diabetes

Ed Damiano’s journey to help the millions of people who suffer from type 1 diabetes—which began nearly 20 years ago, when his infant son, David, was diagnosed with the disease—took a huge leap forward this week. The BU biomedical engineering professor announced that the company he formed to commercialize a portable, wearable device that automatically controls blood sugar levels has raised $126 million—enough to get the device, known as a bionic pancreas, through the last stages of development, final clinical trials, regulatory approval by the US Food and Drug Administration, and into the hands of people with the disease.

Damiano’s company, Beta Bionics, a socially minded, for-profit public benefit corporation, raised the money, mostly from institutional investors. “Having raised more than $120 million over the past 10 months, we have placed Beta Bionics on a secure footing for the future and positioned ourselves well for the commercial success we envision for the [bionic pancreas],” Damiano says. He expects his bionic pancreas, called the iLet, to become commercially available within the next 18 months or so.

“The success of Ed and his team on both the scientific-technical side and the fundraising side is remarkable and provides hope for a real breakthrough in the management of type I diabetes,” says Gloria Waters, BU vice president and associate provost for research.

Read complete story on The Brink, Boston University’s new research magazine.