Improving Insulin Delivery For All Insulin Dependent Diabetics
MacFarlane Medical is on a mission to improve insulin delivery for all insulin-dependent diabetics – allowing for a life with increased happiness and freedom. Their flagship product is a revolutionary wearable insulin delivery device that leverages proprietary technology to deliver insulin in a faster, more comfortable, and less resource dependent way than existing options. Around 8.8% of the world population is living with diabetes. Every day, diabetics need to inject insulin into themselves multiple times a day to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Naturally, managing insulin delivery at such a frequent rate becomes a challenge. Diabetes is a livable disease when managed properly, but as the number of people living with diabetes increases, it is imperative that management becomes as easy and convenient as possible. Enter Connor MacFarlane and his idea for Improved Insulin Delivery (IID).
A revolutionary wearable device
Minimizing pain, reducing plastic waste, and saving supplies and time
The idea for the product came about through the personal experiences of Founder and CEO, Connor MacFarlane. Connor was very active in high school athletics, and when he was diagnosed with diabetes, he did not want to change his routine, even though it was necessary for his health. Connor knew what to expect from a diagnosis, as there was a history of diabetes in his family. Growing up, Connor witnessed his grandfather deal with syringes and vials his whole life; as he got older, his eyesight naturally diminished and he developed arthritis in his hands, which severely challenged his ability to use the syringes to inject insulin at the rate required.
Like a natural entrepreneur, Connor noticed a problem; diabetics being restricted due to the bulky, unreliable, repetitive system for insulin delivery. Combined with an ambition to allow an active routine as a diabetic, and awareness of the challenges with existing insulin delivery systems demonstrated by his grandfather, Connor decided to innovate a new device; Improved Insulin Delivery, which was the start of MacFarlane Medical.
Today, insulin-dependent diabetics typically have two options: they can use multiple daily injections, using a syringe or pen needle to pierce the skin and allow medication to flow, or pumping, using a battery powered pump to continuously push medication through a small tube (called a cannula). The IID incorporates the best of both worlds by combining the injection-reducing nature of pumping through use of a cannula, with the simplicity and ease of use of an insulin pen. The IID has a housing designed to couple with an insulin pen and allow medication to flow into the user, thereby eliminating the long tubes and hassle of a pump as well as the repeat injections of MDI.
FORGE’s impact: critical funding
Connor first connected with FORGE in 2019 for assistance in forging industry connections and has been working with FORGE ever since on continued supply chain and manufacturing needs. Initially, Connor was focused on initial design and prototyping. By connecting Connor to design manufacturing firms in FORGE’s network of over 450+ startup-friendly suppliers, we helped MacFarlane Medical to streamline, optimize and improve the design for his prototype. FORGE connected MacFarlane Medical with Joe Iannone of SRC Medical which launched MacFarlane Medical into the design for manufacturing process. Similarly, FORGE connected him with the UMass Amherst ADDFab Lab for his 3D printing needs, and most recently with Empire Group for production level designing and prototyping services.
“FORGE has been great. They connected me to many different manufacturing design companies, it was those connections that helped us establish the HOW behind the device. This process easily could have taken 3x-4x longer without FORGE.” — Connor MacFarlane, Founder & CEO of MacFarlane Medical
Months later, on September 28th, MacFarlane Medical participated in the FORGE Manufacturing Mash-Up Showcase event at Polar Park, for a chance to win a Product Development Grant. Though GenH took home the grand prize of the product development grant, MacFarlane Medical took home $15,000 in non-dilutive funding from the Audience Choice Award of $5,000 and MERT 2.0 funding of $10,000, provided by the Economic Development Administration (EDA) to ensure greater regional resiliency in the aftermath of COVID-19.
Now, MacFarlane Medical proudly boasts a reduction in needle sticks from 5 or more every day, to 1 every 3 days. Connor’s work has improved insulin delivery for diabetics by reducing the number of injections to 1/15th what it was previously.
What are the next steps for MacFarlane Medical? The focus now is using the recent funding from FORGE and utilizing the contacts in FORGE’s network to finalize the fully engineered design. He plans to focus on injection molding with Empire Group rather than 3D printing moving forward and plans to fund the manufacturing of the products using the $10,000 of MERT 2.0 funding he received from the Manufacturing Showcase! The focus for MacFarlane Medical is now on wearability, durability tests, packaging, sterilization in the coming months before commercialization. FORGE is proud to support MacFarlane Medical in their mission to better the lives of millions of insulin-dependent diabetics around the world, and we can’t wait to see them scale!