Zucara Faces “Valley of Death,” and Comes Out Triumphant

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Low blood sugar, called hypoglycemia, is a real fear for people with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Although there are rescue treatments for it, there are no preventive therapies. Zucara Therapeutics, however, may have an answer. It is developing a once-daily therapy that restores glucagon. Adding glucagon raises blood-sugar levels, preventing hypoglycemia and the symptoms that it brings. JDRF provided funding to move Zucara beyond the “valley of death”—when discovery research is translated into a therapy or technology, but lacks the funding to make it real—and now Zucara has the backing of a large venture capital fund to move its therapy, called ZT-01, into clinical trials.


Hypoglycemia is an unintended consequence of insulin therapy, and happens when one takes too much insulin. It causes sweating, fatigue, irritability and, in severe cases, seizures and/or death. It is one of the most feared and acute complications of this disease.


The venture fund, named Perceptive Xontogeny Venture (PXV) Fund, will provide Zucara $21 million and actively support its phase I and II trials. Zucara is currently preparing to initiate a phase I clinical trial of ZT-01 in mid-2020. If these trials are successful, the drug will be much closer to approval, and to providing much-needed relief to the millions of people with T1D and their families who suffer from the fear and danger of having low blood sugar when they take insulin.

To learn more about how we’re turning type 1 into type none, go here.