Skip to content
Diatheris 1

A CHF 2.5 Million Grant for Diatheris

Share this article

The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust in the United States supports the Diatheris project, a UNIGE spin-off working on an adjunct treatment to boost insulin therapy.



This funding will enable Giorgio Ramadori, a researcher in the Department of Cell Physiology and Metabolism and the Faculty Centre for Diabetes in the Faculty of Medicine at the UNIGE, and co-founder of the startup Diatheris, to complete pre-clinical trials and prepare for the launch of the first clinical trials of an innovative treatment for type 1 diabetes. This is the result of more than a decade’s work at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine, in Professor Roberto Coppari’s laboratory, aimed at understanding the mechanisms that maintain life in the absence of insulin. With a doctorate in biology and a specialisation in molecular biology and pharmacology, Giorgio Ramadori spent a post-doctoral period at the UTSW Medical Center in Dallas before joining Professor Roberto Coppari’s laboratory at the UNIGE Faculty of Medicine as a scientific collaborator.


Using different research models, the research team identified a small protein, S100A9, as a factor capable of prolonging the lifespan of insulin-deficient mice while improving glycaemic and ketone profiles. Recognising the translational implications of their discovery, in particular the prospect of using S100A9 in conjunction with reduced doses of insulin for more effective management of type 1 diabetes, Giorgio Ramadori and his colleagues now want to develop a clinical application. “We are working on a subcutaneous injection of a recombinant form of S100A9, which would provide a safer, more effective and less restrictive alternative for patients to control their blood sugar levels and improve their quality of life,” he explains. “If successful, this method would not only reduce the therapeutic need for insulin, but also mitigate the risks associated with hypoglycaemia and diabetic ketoacidosis, which are persistent and potentially serious problems in the current treatment of type 1 diabetes.


The grant from the Helmsley Charitable Trust will enable pre-clinical studies to be completed, followed by preparatory work for the clinical trial application process in 2025. “The Helmsley Charitable Trust is not only accelerating the progress of our project, but also broadening its scope and impact. Beyond the financial support, it reflects a shared commitment to advancing medical knowledge and, more importantly, improving the lives of people affected by type 1 diabetes,” he concludes.


Over the past few months, Diatheris received several grants to fund its project: an Innosuisse grant in December 2022 for an undisclosed amount. The Start-up also got CHF 150 000 from Venture Kick, and recently a additionnal CHF 150 000 from Innobooster by Venture Kick. Diatheris is also supported by FONGIT (Fondation Genevoise pour l’Innovation Technologique).


Source: UNIGE. 

📸 From left to right: Pr. Roberto Coppari and Dr Giorgio Rimadori.