Together We’re Fighting for the Next Generation of Innovators


When the type 1 community comes together, we’re louder, stronger, and more powerful. T1D Exchange is a unique nonprofit that combines our collective voices to demand better treatments and better care. This week, we are highlighting the various ways in which our community has made a difference…Together One.

We live in an amazing time of innovation. With one small device most of us carry around in our pocket, we can get directions while driving in a strange city, say happy birthday to a faraway friend instantly, purchase just about anything we want to be delivered to our doorstep, and much more. Living with type 1 diabetes in 2017 means something very different than it did 50, 25, 10, or even 5 years ago. That’s because technology is moving at an incredibly fast pace, providing tools that help us better manage our blood sugar, or that of our loved ones.

Indeed, innovation is transforming lives. And today, innovation is happening everywhere—not only in huge companies with significant research and development resources or in prestigious academic institutions with generous funding. Today, innovation is also taking place in small labs, start-up organizations and even in garages and home offices around the world.

T1D Exchange wants to make sure that we are reaching innovators near and wide and incentivizing them to find new solutions to the challenges of type 1 diabetes.  In late 2016, we held our first-ever, open, worldwide Challenge to identify and accelerate innovations in diabetes research and care.

From an impressive field of over 60 qualified applicants, we invited 30 companies to pitch their innovations to a highly qualified panel of judges in a Shark-Tank style pitch off and then narrowed the field to 12 finalists who pitched their innovation in front of a larger audience and esteemed panel of judges. Seven winners were chosen, each of whom was awarded with cash prizes and/or in-kind services to continue to develop their product.

One of those winners, UK-based Polyphotonix, was recognized for their sleep mask—a novel, non-invasive, low-cost treatment for retinopathy and diabetic macular edema (some of the leading causes of blindness). Polyphotonix received a financial award to help them continue to develop and commercialize their product.

But more importantly, the Innovation Challenge gave Polyphotonix and all the others who competed in the Diabetes Innovation Challenge exposure to a broad, expert audience in the US of industry, nonprofits, funders, and regulators. Polyphotonix is now that much closer to offering their sleep mask as an approved treatment for diabetes retinopathy in the US.

The Future Is Bright…but We Can’t Do It Alone.

We are now in the planning stages for our second Diabetes Innovation Challenge, and can’t wait to see what new and exciting innovations are currently being developed. As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we rely on contributions from people like you to help us continue to accelerate new treatments and improve care. Please consider supporting T1D Exchange research with a donation today.

Sign in or Register to view comments.