The Vision of Bigfoot Biomedical

10/21/16
WRITTEN BY: Melissa Lee
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A few months after I was diagnosed with T1D, when I was 11 years old, I was asked to design my dream diabetes device for an innovation contest. I sketched out a meter that didn’t require me to prick my finger anymore. That’s what diabetes technology innovation meant to me in 1990 – a better meter.

I never imagined I would grow up to write about diabetes technology – or that it would continue to exist on such a slow-moving spectrum of marginally better new features (a backlight!) or marginally smaller devices (30% slimmer!). These features have not reduced the burden of diabetes for me or the millions of people with T1D, and often they’ve increased it with ever-rising prices and another textbook of a user guide to read through (I actually read them. I know. That’s weird, isn’t it?).

What I want is for my blood glucose levels to be more stable without working so hard. I want to think about diabetes less, but not risk my health. And I want to be able to afford the tools that improve my quality of life.

So what if you were to ask me to design my dream diabetes company to solve these problems?

I would assemble a team that had skin in the game and that hand-picked top talent from within and without the diabetes industry. I’d recruit people like:

  • the smartest folks in the room at the big companies who were held back by bureaucracy … and I’d give them room to stretch their wings
  • passionate visionaries who drove change in their field … and I’d give them a clean slate to lay out their vision
  • creative problem-solvers who hacked their own solutions when industry wasn’t solving their problems…and I’d take their learnings and listen
  • men and women with the biggest hearts, driven by love, because their lives and the lives of their loved ones are affected by Type 1 diabetes … and I’d make sure their voices were always in the room
  • automation experts who had already seen many of the same problems solved in other industries like energy and finance … and I’d trust them to plan and design for when systems don’t work
  • medtech experts who know how to build – and take through clinical and regulatory rigors – safe, secure, effective devices … and I’d give them the support they need to ensure safety and success
  • designers and thinkers who’ve worked in lifestyle spaces where customers’ delight and enjoyment matter … as I’d marvel at how few moments of delight have been a part of my patient journey
  • and maybe I’d throw in a savvy advocate who’s thrilled to tell their story

That’s how we’ve built Bigfoot Biomedical.

An uncommon name for an uncommon company, Bigfoot was named for a 2014 Wired Magazine article about a mystery man who had reportedly fashioned his own automated insulin delivery system for his wife and son, both of whom have Type 1. That man was Bryan Mazlish, one of the four founding fathers of Bigfoot Biomedical.

Together with former JDRF CEO Jeffrey Brewer, former Medtronic chief engineer and Nightscout co-creator Lane Desborough, and Jon Brilliant, former CFO of WellDoc, the first FDA-approved prescription therapy via a smartphone mobile app, Mazlish founded Bigfoot Biomedical. The four purchased the assets of Asante (who made the Snap pump) and sealed a deal with Dexcom in Bigfoot’s first year. From a standing start two years ago, Bigfoot is already in clinical trials and the team has grown to 40 people, 40% of whom have a direct connection to T1D.

At Bigfoot, we reject the way it has been. We believe there is a better way of living ahead of us, and that, until there’s a cure, technology can serve us as well. We believe you deserve relief from the burdens of T1D.

bigfoot-thumbDeep in our lair in Silicon Valley, we’re designing a comprehensive solution for insulin-dependent diabetes that includes:

  • an automated insulin delivery system that is intended to reduce hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia by adjusting insulin (from an insulin pump) in response to sensor glucose levels (from a continuous glucose sensor)
  • a smartphone mobile app as the user interface, meaning that you’d be able to check in on your diabetes as discretely as you check in on your Instagram, no longer having to pull out a clunky pager to punch a series of buttons. The slender, lightweight pump can stay tucked away where you prefer to wear it.
  • easy start-up – ready to use with minimal inputs from your healthcare team. Training available right in the app. No multiple trips back and forth to the clinic to re-set your rates, no run-in period before you’re able to enjoy the benefits of automation, no heavy guidebooks. Gone are the days of slow site changes, fill syringes, thumping bubbles with your finger, or tubing primes.
  • contextual information – like telling you that you’ll need a cartridge change before you leave the house and not in the middle of your day when it’s disruptive to your life
  • supply management – we’re designing a supply management service to help ensure that your supplies will show up at your door when you need them
  • one price for everything – one co-pay, one prescription, one price. And a lower one than buying everything piece by piece as we do today.

Bigfoot is more than just a device. It’s a complete service being designed to reduce the burden of T1D in your life. We’re currently facilitating our first clinical trial now and we hope to bring our solution to the commercial market in 2018.

Join us on our journey by liking our page on Facebook, tracking Bigfoot on Twitter and Instagram, and signing up for updates.


Read Nightscout – The Technology that Changed the World We Know.



Melissa Lee

Melissa Lee is a respected blogger, patient advocate, and diabetes thought leader. Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 10 in 1990, she is known both for her diabetes technology writing as Tech Editor for the diabetes online magazine ASweetLife.org, as well as for her diabetes music video parodies. Throughout 2015, she led Diabetes Hands Foundation, the nonprofit that runs TuDiabetes.org, as its interim Executive Director. She joined Bigfoot in 2016 as Director of Community Relations.