Blood sugar testing

An insulin patch could become a reality if a start up company from Florida can secure the funding it needs to develop the patch.

The brains behind the insulin patch is Stephen Hsu. Following graduation from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University and positions held at the University of Florida, Stephen founded the company Prometheon in 2011.

The patch that Dr Hsu has patented allows hormones with longer molecular chains, such as insulin, to be absorbed through the skin; a feat which has not previously been possible. The patch is activated by heat which means that when placed on the skin, the active side of the patch melts to form a dermoadhesive gel which allows insulin to pass through the skin.

Previous attempts to make patches for hormones with large molecular chains have failed because the hormones have been unable to penetrate through the protective layer of the skin. Alternative hormone delivery via patches have required protrusion with microneedles to penetrate through the skin. Dr Hsu’s team has named their insulin patch ‘TruePatch’ as it completely forgoes the need for needles.

As well as promising no pricks from needles, the TruePatch, which includes Topicon technology, allows insulin to be delivered gradually and consistently in a similar way to injected analogue basal insulin. The TruePatch has another advantage which is that it can be removed if hypoglycemia occurs. The TruePatch is suitable for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes but has so far only been tested in a small number of animals. To be able to advance towards larger animal and human studies, the company Promtheon requires significant funding. The company has set up their #NoPricks funding campaign on crowdfunding website Indiegogo to raise $1 million but the company has thus far struggled to raise the funding required. With 12 days left until the funding deadline, the company has only reached 1% of its $1 million funding target.

If Prometheon can secure the funding it requires, the technology could expand to wider uses such as delivery of incretin mimetics for type 2 diabetes as well as delivery of other larger chain hormones and treatments.