In continuing our “Where Are They Now” series where we follow up with the finalists of the 2016 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award, we spoke with John Sjölund, CEO and Co-Founder of Timesulin. Since the award, the biggest news for John is that his business was acquired by Bigfoot Biomedical and he will be joining the team to lead their initiatives to bring a connected insulin pen, with automated dose titration to market. Read on to learn more about the partnership, his opinion on Patient Entrepreneurs, and his piece of advice for those thinking of applying for the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Award.
Bruna Petrillo: Hi John! For those who are not familiar with your company, tell us a little bit about Timesulin.
John Sjölund: We created Timesulin based on my own experiences of living with Type 1 diabetes for over 30 years. Living an active life and traveling, I was constantly struggling to remember if I had taken my insulin, via an insulin pen, or not.
Frustrated at not having any product that could solve my issue ever come to market, together with a friend, we 3D printed our first product. As I started showing it to more people, more wanted one. We had a business on our hands accidentally. The product is now used by hundreds of thousands of people around the world.
Timesulin is a replacement cap for the most commonly used insulin pens used today. It has a simple timer in it that tells you when you took your last insulin injection -helping you to avoid a missed dose OR dangerous double dose.
BP: 3D printing- that’s great! You were a participant of the 2016 LBNN Award, could you tell us what your biggest take-away from the Summit was?
JS: I was amazed at the size of Novo Nordisk – both in terms of the physical size of their production facilities as well as a number of incredible talents engineers they had that participated in the summit. There are a lot of people with diabetes and we know that most of them desperately need help to allow them to live safer, more balanced lives.
Additionally, it was a fantastic opportunity to network with Karin of Lyfebulb and the other participants. The entire group is so passionate, so smart – I was amazed.
BP: Why do Patient Entrepreneurs matter?
JS: Unfortunately, it is very hard for people that are not living with a chronic disease, to understand the huge burden we have all day long to take care of it. It is never ending and relentless.
Being a patient, I believe, provides a unique window into the cognitive challenges of living with the disease and what tools, no matter how simple, can be created to reduce the burden.
BP: Since the LBNN Award, Timesulin has been acquired by Bigfoot Biomedical. Can you tell us a bit about this acquisition?
JS: We are absolutely thrilled to be joining together with the team at Bigfoot to continue to drive towards making diabetes simpler, safer and promoting better life balance. I have never encountered a team that has such a strong personal commitment or vision to dramatically change diabetes for the better.
Bigfoot will be incorporating the Dose Capture technology we have developed into their platform. What this means is we will have a comprehensive solution to dramatically make diabetes easier – through machine learning, automation and smart design, no matter how you decide to take your insulin.
we will have a comprehensive solution to dramatically make diabetes easier…
BP: How do see you the future of this partnership and Timesulin?
JS: As the future of diabetes. Connected products that allow for automated decision support and auto-titration is the final step, I believe, before smart insulins and ultimately a cure.
Patients who want to use closed loop systems (sometimes called artificial pancreas) should be able to leverage the best technology irrespective if they want to use an insulin pump OR an insulin pen. We will allow for this.
BP: What advice would you give to those applying for the 2017 LBNN Award?
JS: Spend time on your application since this is circulated widely before you have the opportunity to present in person.
Learn more about the 2017 Lyfebulb-Novo Nordisk Innovation Summit & Award and apply HERE.