Bigfoot Biomedical: The artificial pancreas company with DIY roots
Bigfoot Biomedical stepped out of the shadows in the summer of 2015, looking to develop their own artificial pancreas system with the help of Bryan Mazlish, a former player in quantitative finance who used his knowledge of algorithms to develop a homebrew “bionic pancreas” for his wife and son.
Both Mazlish’s son and wife used his hacked artificial pancreas devices for over a year, according to interviews with the family. A Wired article in 2014 covering home diabetes device hackers surreptitiously referred to Mazlish as “bigfoot” to hide his identity. The name stuck.
Since then, Bigfoot has rocketed forward, winning support from the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which in January made an unspecified equity investment through its T1D Fund into the company and the Smartloop automated insulin delivery system it’s developing.
Bigfoot bills the Smartloop system as “the world’s 1st Internet-of-Things medical device system delivered as a monthly service,” based on a “cloud-connected ecosystem” designed to link wearable insulin delivery and glucose monitoring devices controlled via smartphone.
Bigfoot in mid-2015 bought the assets of shuttered insulin pump maker Asante and moved into its Silicon Valley headquarters, saying it planned to integrate Asante’s FDA-cleared Snap insulin pump into its own system. A year later, Bigfoot launched a clinical trial of the Smartloop platform. The company has inked deals with “leading glucose monitoring companies,” including Dexcom and now employs some 40 workers.
Last October, Milpitas, Calif.–based Bigfoot raised a $35.5 million Series A round led by Quadrant Capital Advisors that included backing from Cormorant Asset Management, Senvest Capital and Visionnaire Ventures. Bigfoot said at the time that it plans to use the proceeds to fund the final development of the Smartloop system.
The company initiated its 1st clinical trial last January and has since completed the trial, which included both adult and pediatric participants, and is hopeful that it will begin a pivotal trial of its devices later this year at multiple clinical sites in the US.