Firas El-Khatib

VP, Research & Innovation/VP, Clinical & Regulatory Affairs

Firas El-Khatib, Ph.D., is a co-founder of and VP of Research and Innovation/VP of Clinical and Regulatory Affairs at Beta Bionics, Inc. He holds Masters and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Starting with his Ph.D. work from 2001–2005, he has committed himself to building a bionic pancreas for automating blood-glucose management in type 1 or type 2 diabetes, as well as other glycemic dysregulation conditions. He has developed the underlying control algorithm that governs its autonomous action and holds multiple related patents. Along with the rest of the team and clinical collaborators, he started testing the bionic pancreas in inpatient studies in adults and adolescents, from 2008–2012, followed to date by several outpatient clinical studies in adults and children.

What drew you to work in the diabetes industry?

I do not have a personal connection to diabetes, but I am fortunate and delighted to have gotten involved in this project from the very beginning. I was basically at the right place at the right time, where and when it all started over a decade ago with control algorithm development work.

Why did you choose to work at Beta Bionics?

The inception of Beta Bionics was a new chapter and a continuation of the previous bionic pancreas development work after it had reached a stage that required a commercial entity to move the technology forward towards marketization.

What is the most rewarding part about working at Beta Bionics?

We at Beta Bionics appreciate that once a person is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, their life is impacted severely, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year — it’s really a life sentence of sorts and can quickly get aggravating, stressful, and daunting. Everyone wants at least a basic level of spontaneity in their lives, to eat without it being burdensome and stressful, to exercise freely as they desire, and of course to sleep well and safely; that is all adversely affected with type 1 diabetes under the current standard of care. Being part of the mission to help restore that “normalcy” in people’s lives is incredibly rewarding.

CAUTION: The iLet® bionic pancreas is an investigational device limited by Federal (or United States) law to investigational use. Not available for sale.

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