The team at Diatech Diabetes is personally aware of how a diabetes diagnosis can change your everyday life.
CEO, John Wilcox, was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at a young age. It’s no wonder then that this startup is dedicated to using cutting edge technology to solve life-threatening issues for diabetics all over the world.
Diatech Diabetes is a medical device company based in Memphis TN, committed to changing the way infusion set failure detection is done with their infusion set failure detection system, SmartFusion™.
Infusion set failure detection may be a foreign concept to lots of people, but for any person making daily use of an insulin pump, it’s all too familiar. For those unaware, insulin pumps are used to deliver scheduled doses of insulin directly into the bloodstream of the user as an automated alternative to needle injections. Diatech classifies an infusion failure as any delivery event that does not have the ability to deliver the target volume within the expected time.
We caught up with John Wilcox, CEO of Diatech Diabetes, to hear more about his personal experience as a Type 1 Diabetic, the motivations behind Diatech Diabetes, and what it’s like being a tech startup in Memphis, TN.
What inspired you to start Diatech Diabetes?
Our company is made up of patients and family members of patients who have type 1 diabetes (T1D). Additionally, our team worked closely with a pediatric endocrinology clinic while we were founding our company, allowing us to see firsthand what issues patients were having when using diabetes technology. Our personal connection to diabetes and the experiences of the patients we saw in the clinic inspired us to form Diatech Diabetes, Inc. and tackle the problem of insulin pump infusion failures.
How did being diagnosed with diabetes at such a young age fuel your interest in helping others?
After being diagnosed with T1D on my ninth birthday, I grew up relating to people with diabetes and different chronic illnesses. Rather than seeing diabetes as a disability, I learned to use it as a way to empathize with others. I have always enjoyed helping people around me, that is definitely a part of who I am, but having diabetes enabled me to fully understand problems that I can help solve within the diabetes community.
Tell us why you felt Diatech Diabetes was needed?
As the prevalence of diabetes increases, there is a need for therapies that help patients manage their blood glucose levels and combat the associated chronic impacts. Over 1 million patients use insulin pumps and this technology is growing as a significantly beneficial therapy for treating type 1 and type 2 diabetes. We believe that developing a solution like SmartFusion, one that is focused on increasing the reliability and safety of insulin pumps, will advance the technology for patients to manage their diabetes more effectively, worldwide.
Why did you choose to move your business to Memphis?
Memphis is an incredible city for early stage medical devices. We moved to the city in 2019 following our acceptance into the Zeroto510 Medical Device Accelerator. Since then, we have utilized local resources like the University of Memphis UMRF Research Park, Start Co., Epicenter Memphis, the Medical Education & Research Institute, and local medical device veterans/experts to build our company.
Many businesses do not always seek out grants. What prompted you to connect with LaunchTN and apply for the SBIR grant?
Launch Tennessee is the state’s leading entrepreneurial support system. We became involved with their programs through a Microgrant which led to us receiving a $50,000 Pre- Seed investment. It was always advised that we seek out non-dilutive funding that validates our technology. That is why we applied to the SBIR program through the NIH, knowing that if we were to receive a grant from them, that would build a lot of confidence in our venture. We are very excited to have recently received a $300,000 SBIR Phase 1 Grant from the NIH and we look forward to applying to more funding opportunities through their research institute (SBIR Phase 2 program).
If you had to describe Diatech Diabetes in 3 words, what would they be?
Adaptive, Passionate, and Committed.
Your favorite local Memphis business or restaurant the team enjoys going to?
We love all businesses that are fellow Start Co. portfolio companies/graduates of the Zeroto510 Medical Device Accelerator. Our team’s place we always go to celebrate good news is The Bar-B-Q Shop.
Date founded: 2018
Company based in: Memphis, TN
Number of employees: 4
Connect with John: LinkedIn