The FDA’s approval last week of the first artificial pancreas resulted from a bet made 12 years ago, Stat reports. Jeffrey Brewer, a dotcom millionaire, made the challenge at a meeting of the JDRF (formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation). JDRF took up the challenge and embarked “on a costly, and risky, campaign to enlist academic researchers, global companies, members of Congress, and even federal regulators to embrace the concept of a device that could take over much of the process of regulating blood sugar in patients with diabetes.”
As a result, the FDA approved a device from Medtronic, an artificial pancreas for patients over 14 with type 1 diabetes. “JDRF’s long crusade mirrors a trend in the patient advocacy world: Such groups are increasingly moving beyond traditional activism to fund research at drug and device companies,” Stat reports.