Award winning start up aims to reduce anxiety of diabetes treatment
Adelie Health, a start up cofounded by Oxford MBA candidate Meredith Caldwell and Health Economics Researcher Liam McMorrow, has been awarded €50,000 by EIT Health, a thinktank that promotes healthy living, active ageing and improvements in healthcare. The investment will enable Adelie Health to take forward their unique invention: PenPal, a cap for insulin pens that tracks and records usage data, affording users greater peace of mind. The award from EIT Health follows the start up’s ‘People’s Choice’ award from the Skoll Venture Awards on 20 June.
Insulin pens are used by people with diabetes worldwide. Their invention in 1985 provided an easier way to manage the condition, by enabling users to self-inject the hormone without the use of a vial and syringe. Co-founder Liam McMorrow, who has had type 1 diabetes for 15 years, found that managing his condition with an insulin pen had a significant drawback: if you need to inject several times a day, remembering whether you have taken the correct dosage can often be difficult, causing stress and increasing the risk of accidental overdose.
To counteract this problem, McMorrow teamed up with Oxford MBA student Meredith Caldwell, and together they founded Adelie Health, which has created the award winning PenPal prototype. PenPal works by attaching to the users existing insulin pen – they simply replace the cap. A sensor then tracks their usage and sends data to an app on their smart phone. Reminders can be setup on the pen, to lessen the risk of missed doses.
‘We know there will be treatments in the future which will revolutionise the way diabetes is treated, but right now insulin pen users need the process to be made easier. That’s what our product can do, and we hope it will take away some of the anxiety that people with diabetes face every day,’ said Caldwell.
Adelie Health are a perfect example of a start up that has been fostered by Oxford University’s collaborative environment. They met at an Innovation Day for mental health organised by the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, and soon realised they could work well together. ‘Meeting Liam and learning more about the idea, diabetes and the problem worldwide it was really easy to see the social impact that we would have as a start up,’ said Caldwell.
For Caldwell, a former management consultant, the lessons she has learnt during her MBA have been indispensable to her work with Adelie Health. ‘The Entrepreneurship Project with Professor Thomas Hellman was invaluable,’ she said. ‘I worked with four other MBAs on Adelie Health’s go to market strategy – everyone brings their own experience and insights to the MBA, so you can learn a great deal from your fellow students.’