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Zealand Pharma invests $3.5M in diabetes-focused Beta Bionics

Zealand Pharma A/S completed the last round of a $5 million equity investment in its strategic partner Beta Bionics Inc. to help develop an artificial pancreas pump system to manage type 1 diabetes.

Denmark-based Zealand Pharma is using its option to invest an additional $3.5 million after Beta Bionics achieved development milestones related to the iLet bionic pancreas system. This follows an initial $1.5 million equity investment in 2017.

Beta Bionics, a Boston-based, privately held company, develops iLet, a digital, pocket-sized glucose controlling system that mimics biological pancreas by calculating and dosing insulin and glucagon — a peptide hormone to raise blood sugar levels — based on data from the diabetic patient's continuous glucose monitor.

The iLet device will use Zealand Pharma's dasiglucagon, a glucagon analog stable in liquid formulation, in combination with insulin, to improve diabetes management for patients on insulin therapy.

Dasiglucagon is being developed as a rescue treatment for severe hypoglycemia, to treat congenital hyperinsulinism or abnormally high levels of insulin, and as a dual-hormone artificial pancreas for diabetes treatment.

Zealand Pharma said the investment will help begin the phase 3 development program of iLet in the second half of 2019.