A new startup called Amalgam Rx wants to change the way people with type 2 diabetes manage their insulin intake with the help of a prescription app.
There are roughly 30 million people in the US living with diabetes, many of whom inject insulin, a hormone that’s produced in healthy bodies to control blood sugar levels. For many people living with diabetes — including the 1.25 million people in the US who have Type-1 diabetes — injecting insulin is part of the daily routine.
In particular, it’s the group of people who have type 2 and are just starting to use insulin that the startup, founded by a pair of siblings who also founded another digital therapeutics company WellDoc, wants to help.
Ryan Sysko, Amalgam Rx CEO, told Business Insider that when a patient starts using insulin, the doctor often prescribes a low dose to see how their body reacts. A patient might stay on that dose, which could be too low to really do anything, until their next visit. Instead, Sysko, along with his sister, Amalgam’s chief medical officer Dr. Suzanne Clough, developed an algorithm to help people increase their insulin doses as needed.
The FDA-cleared, prescription iSage Rx app launched on Monday.
Here’s how it works
- If your doctor wants to put you on insulin — specifically a long-acting insulin such as Lantus, Levemir, or Basaglar — they can start at a low dose while also prescribing the iSage app.
- Then, the person can start inputting in their blood glucose levels. If they’re not getting blood sugar levels under control, the app can suggest an increase in the amount of insulin.
- This continues until the blood sugar levels are under control, and the doc only has to be part of the beginning of the process.
- This way, people can input their blood sugar levels, and a doc on the backend has already said how much it should increase based on those readings.
The goal, Sysko said, is to use the app to accelerate the process of getting blood sugar levels into the target healthy range, which is a key part of managing diabetes.
Amalgam Rx’s iSage Rx app is one of a few so-called “insulin titration” apps out there, and it’s part of a growing movement to use software to treat diseases alongside (or occasionally instead of) traditional methods.
Eventually, Amalgam Rx wants to expand beyond diabetes to other disease areas, ideally partnering with pharmaceutical companies to create app-medication combinations. So far, the company’s raised less than $US1 million in seed funding.
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