Inspira Awarded $1.98M NIH Grant for Diabetes Therapy (UF Innovate)

Inspira Awarded $1.98M NIH Grant for Diabetes Therapy

ALACHUA & GAINESVILLE, FL Inspira Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company located at UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub, was awarded a $1,982,936 million, 2-year Direct Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease of the National Institutes of Health to develop its proprietary, polymeric biomaterial-based tolerogenic treatment for type 1 diabetes. The therapy is expected to reduce and possibly eliminate dependence upon exogenous insulin injection when early-stage type 1 diabetic patients are treated. Dr. Ben Looney, Ph.D., who has been with UF startup Inspira for the last four years, will serve as principal investigator of the grant and lead the technical program. 

The award provides funding to continue the commercialization of Inspira’s microparticle delivery platform that targets the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases. This system achieves antigen-specific immune tolerance while leaving the normal immune system intact. Early preclinical work indicates that Inspira’s technology has the potential to reduce and possibly eliminate the need for insulin replacement therapy, the current standard of care. The broad-based immune-modulating approach also shows promise to treat a wide range of auto-immune diseases including not only type 1 diabetes but also rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and others.  

“This is an important and exciting development for Inspira as it allows us to move quickly forward with our preclinical and clinical development programs, and to ultimately provide a critical advancement for those suffering from type 1 diabetes,” said Anne Rathbun Favre, president & CEO of Inspira. 

Type 1 diabetes is a devastating and difficult to manage disease that negatively impacts not only the sufferer, but also their family and caregivers. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed during childhood and is an incurable condition requiring insulin replacement therapy for life. In the US alone, approximately 1.5 million people suffer from type 1 diabetes and more than 60,000 new patients will be diagnosed each year. The cost to the US healthcare system is over $16 billion/year; the cost in suffering is immeasurable. 

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s own immune system attacks the insulin-producing cells within the pancreas. Left unchecked, endogenous insulin production will cease, rendering the body incapable of metabolizing glucose, the primary source of fuel for all cells. Without supplemental insulin, type 1 diabetes sufferers will ultimately die. Even when insulin replacement therapy is used, type 1 diabetes patients require constant blood glucose monitoring and remain at risk for severe disabling secondary complications.  

Inspira was founded in partnership with internationally recognized faculty within both the College of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida.  

“Managing type 1 diabetes is a significant unmet need, and our novel approach shows real promise for altering the course of type 1 diabetes,” said Dr. Benjamin G. Keselowsky, Ph.D., founder and scientific advisor of Inspira. 

As a resident at both Sid Martin Biotech and The Hub, Inspira demonstrates how the UF Innovate biotech program assists companies in reaching their goals to provide transformational, life-changing therapies.  

“Inspira is a great example of how a public-private partnership can translate research into meaningful, life-changing products,” said Karl R. LaPan, director of UF Innovate | Incubation Services. 

About Inspira Therapeutics, Inc. 

Inspira Therapeutics is a Florida biopharmaceutical company focused on developing “inspired” immune therapies to address some of the most pernicious autoimmune conditions. Inspira’s proprietary, broad-based, microparticle platform has the potential to prevent, slow, and possibly reverse the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases by modifying how the immune system responds to disease-specific antigens. Inspira was founded in partnership with internationally recognized faculty from both the College of Medicine and the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering at the University of Florida. For more information, please visit

About UF Innovate | Incubation Services 

UF Innovate | Incubation Services includes UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech, the globally recognized biotechnology incubator headquartered in Alachua, Florida, at Progress Park, and UF Innovate | The Hub, the award-winning mixed-used incubator in the Gainesville, Florida, Innovation District. The incubation programs have been honored with nine national and international awards for incubator excellence and achievements in technology commercialization, funding access, job creation, and technology-based economic development. UF Innovate | Incubation Services is dedicated to mentoring and accelerating the growth of innovative early-stage bioscience and biotechnology companies and supporting the economic growth of the North Central Florida region. For more information, visit UF Innovate

Disclaimer: Research reported in this press release is supported by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease of the National Institutes of Health under the award number R44DK125156. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health 


Company Contact:
Inspira Therapeutics, Inc.
Anne Rathbun Favre
President & CEO

UF Innovate Contact: 
UF Innovate | Incubation Services
Karl R. LaPan