CeQur – 2013 Fierce 15

CeQur CEO James Peterson

Based: Horw, Switzerland; Nordborg, Denmark; Marlborough, MA
Founded: 2008
CEO: James Peterson
Website: www.CeQurCorp.com

The Scoop: CeQur's PaQ insulin pump is a device designed to confront a specific problem in the diabetes arena: Frequent injections every day over the span of a lifetime can be taxing for patients with the disease, and for various reasons, 60% of them regularly skip shots, resulting in poor glycemic control. Down the line, this can lead to serious repercussions, including a shortened life. For CeQur, it's a problem with a simple solution and one that could give the company a coveted spot in the vast diabetes market estimated to be worth $3 billion.

What Makes It Fierce: To CEO James Peterson and others helming it, CeQur is a passion project. Several members of the all-star team, including Peterson, have a vested interest in the diabetes market in the form of close friends and family members--Peterson's own experience with his diabetic daughter brought him out of retirement from the industry to focus on simple, elegant solutions to the disease.

"What distinguishes us," Peterson said, "is we're a group of people that understands this area very well, with a very clear focus of what we want to do in this space."

Because of this personal experience with diabetes, Peterson says, the CeQur team, armed with inside-track knowledge of what is needed in an insulin delivery device, strives to make life easier for patients first and foremost. The company's answer to these problems is the PaQ wearable insulin pump for Type 2 diabetes that delivers basal and bolus insulin doses for up to three days at a time. The device has investors' attention, too, raking in $27 million in second-round financing in September.

CeQur's PaQ insulin delivery device--Courtesy of CeQur

The idea came from studies showing that 60% of patients with Type 2 diabetes are struggling to keep up their insulin regimens for reasons such as pain, hassle and embarassment. Knowing these are all issues for diabetic patients, CeQur designed its PaQ device to overcome them. And what's more, studies over the last few years have demonstrated that infusing insulin slowly over a lifetime as opposed to frequent shots decreases risks associated with diabetes later in life.

"By giving the same amount of insulin and flowing it slowly, you get better results," Peterson said. "You're 70% less likely to get retinopathy, you reduce your likelihood of kidney failure significantly, and stroke and heart attack. It's a win-win scenario for the patient and the doctor, and investors know that'll be the case, too."

As far as strategy, CeQur boasts some of the best and most experienced minds in the business, a combination of the "old gray dogs and newer talent," Peterson says. Comprising this team is chairman Eric Milledge, a Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) veteran; executive vice president of strategy and business development Mads Dall, formerly of Novo Nordisk ($NVO); and senior vice president of clinical and commercialization Jay Warner from Eli Lilly ($LLY).

"We have the opportunity to bring a simple, inexpensive device to the market, and we have the opportunity to come in and target a space and make a huge difference in people's lives," Peterson said. "This is going to be a real big deal."

What To Look For: Although the company hasn't disclosed its individual investors, it has raked in two rounds of financing, including one worth 52 million Swiss francs (about $57 million). The latest round, worth $27 million, will be used to scale up manufacturing of the device, which holds a CE mark already. The company plans to file for clearance with the FDA in early 2014.

For more:
CeQur closes $27M round to fund insulin delivery device
CeQur's insulin pump draws $27M Series B
CeQur's insulin pump approved for European market
Pumping away: Insulin pumps from Roche and CeQur

-- Michael Gibney (email | Twitter)

CeQur – 2013 Fierce 15