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Zubi Group, innovating for a world without diabetes

Jaivir Pall, one of the investment directors at Zubi Capital, has lived with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) for the past 29 years, making it a defining part of his life. This condition has shaped his resilience and fueled his passion to make a positive impact on a global scale.

One of Jaivir’s greatest satisfactions is using technology to enhance the health and happiness of people worldwide. Over the years, he has founded startups both in the UK and Asia, collectively impacting the lives of 32 million people and contributing to the well-being of many affected by this disease and their families.

Jaivir’s commitment to the diabetes community runs deep. He has closely collaborated with patient advocacy groups, pharmaceutical companies, governments, and regulators to improve the quality of life for individuals with diabetes, achieving significant changes on a global level.

Coinciding with the celebration of World Diabetes Day, we have spoken with him to explain how he is working from Zubi Group to drive positive change and enhance the lives of people with diabetes.

To start, could you provide some insight into Zubi Group’s dedication to addressing diabetes and explain why this cause holds significant importance for the company?

Zubi Group’s approach to diabetes focuses on a visionary strategy that seeks to allocate private capital to address the global challenges associated with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). We believe that through investment, we can support the quest for innovative solutions in T1D. Our approach is unique in that we have forged a powerful alliance with the world’s leading scientists, researchers, patients, assets, investors, and foundations in this field.

With a focus on investments from the early stage to Series B, we strategically deploy our capital not only to bring attention to the disease among new interest groups but also to encourage researchers and developers of innovative technology to concentrate their efforts on T1D-related projects.

Our investment theme encompasses therapies, devices, digital health, and nutrition, areas with enormous potential to revolutionize T1D management. Additionally, we are committed to ensuring that the developed solutions are patient-centric, addressing the unique needs of each person living with T1D.

Our strategy includes partnerships with foundations, amplifying efforts to make a difference in the T1D community. In essence, Zubi Group’s commitment to diabetes translates into a collaborative and multifaceted effort aimed at driving significant change and improving the lives of those affected by T1D globally.

From your perspective, what are the main challenges we face, and how does Zubi address them?

The challenges we face in the realm of Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) are significant and multifaceted. Firstly, there is the alarming statistic that the global life expectancy of people with T1D is nearly 32 years lower than the average, underscoring the urgency of our mission. Another concerning fact is that individuals with T1D face the need to make over 180 daily decisions that can be a matter of life or death, highlighting the constant burden this condition imposes.

Furthermore, T1D predominantly affects children, meaning it deeply impacts entire families, not just individuals. Funding for T1D research is worryingly lagging, ranking nearly 100th in terms of total public spending on research in this field, adding an additional layer of complexity to these challenges.

Zubi Group’s approach to addressing this challenge is characterized by its comprehensive strategy. We collaborate with other companies and institutions to find new medications that can cure or delay T1D, pushing the boundaries of medical research. Simultaneously, we contribute to the development of innovative devices that can alleviate the burden of the disease, enabling people to lead more normal lives. Digital health, including support for mental health, has immense potential to improve outcomes for T1D patients, and we actively explore these avenues.

Moreover, we are committed to understanding how our relationship with food can have immediate positive impacts on the lives of people with diabetes.

By addressing these challenges from multiple angles, Zubi Group seeks to transform the landscape of T1D care and improve the quality of life for individuals and families affected by this condition.

That sounds incredibly ambitious. Can you share some of the projects or initiatives that Zubi Group is currently working on in support of diabetes?

At Zubi, we support T1D from different perspectives to generate the most positive impact possible on patients and stakeholders related to the disease:

  • Funding: To companies focused on addressing the unique challenges of Type 1 Diabetes, both in the short, medium, and long term.
  • International leadership: Companies with a global goal. International cooperation highlights the commitment to bringing innovative T1D treatments to market, showcasing the global influence of these companies.
  • Expert collaboration: In parallel, we have assembled a consortium of experts in research and innovation. These experts provide significant support to the companies we support, backing this mission with their knowledge and experience to help these innovations succeed and have a real impact.
  • Collaboration with foundations: We recognize the importance of collaboration and actively partner with key foundations. Our support extends beyond financial contributions; we fund their communication and philanthropic work, amplifying their efforts to make a difference in the diabetes community and increase their overall impact.
  • Real-world focus: Our efforts are fully connected to the real world, with the individual at the center of all our decisions. We are deeply committed to the everyday challenges experienced by people living with diabetes today.

These projects and initiatives reflect a collective commitment to make a relevant and lasting impact in the field of diabetes care.

How does Zubi Group encourage the involvement of its employees and collaborators in this diabetes-focused mission?

At Zubi Group, we have undertaken a profound commitment to actively engage our employees and collaborators in our diabetes-centric mission.

To foster this engagement, we promote internal education and awareness, encouraging everyone to grasp our perspective on diabetes.

Moreover, we incentivize participation in personal and professional networks, urging connections with individuals living with diabetes to enrich understanding of the condition. In the digital realm, we seek support on social platforms to amplify our mission and reach a broader audience.

Outside the organization, we encourage involvement in communities and charitable organizations dedicated to supporting people with diabetes, aiming to generate a collective and positive impact in the world of diabetes care.

Together, we aspire to significantly enhance the lives of those affected by this condition.

How do you believe entrepreneurship and startups are driving significant advances in the field of diabetes and improving the quality of life for those with this condition?

In the realm of diabetes prevention, companies like Provention Bio have developed groundbreaking prevention molecules such as Tepluzimab, offering hope for a future cure.

These pioneering startups are pushing the boundaries of medical science and potentially altering the course of diabetes for countless individuals.

Additionally, we encounter startups driving innovation in cellular and gene therapy, especially in the development of artificial pancreas solutions. This progress ranges from theoretical concepts to clinical trials, increasing the prospects of automated insulin administration systems that could revolutionize diabetes management.

Focusing on the digital health landscape, we witness the creation and takeoff of startups innovating in various areas, from mental health support chatbots to algorithms for precise blood glucose management. These digital solutions have the potential to improve not only the physical but also the emotional well-being of people living with diabetes.

While pharmaceutical and device giants have historically dominated innovation in the diabetes field, the rise of startups heralds a new era. These entrepreneurial ventures bring fresh perspectives, agility, and a profound commitment to improving the lives of people with diabetes. With their tireless drive and innovative spirit, startups are increasingly becoming the driving force behind significant advancements in diabetes care, offering hope and a better quality of life to those with this condition.

How is innovation in the healthcare industry attracting investments and generating a positive impact on the healthcare system, and how does this smart investment benefit individuals, the economy, and society as a whole?

Investing in health is a smart investment because it not only transforms people’s lives but also provides economic and social benefits that positively impact individuals, their families, communities, and, consequently, a country’s life.

Health investment has a dual objective of social and economic impact. As investors and entrepreneurs, we can contribute to economic and social prosperity by engaging in health investments that enhance equality, access to care, and the quality of healthcare for everyone. When we invest intelligently, people can live without the fear of illness and be more productive. This is what creates value for society as a whole.

Bill Gates was very clear in stating, “Improving the health and productivity of the poorest is one of the best investments that can be made for the future of the world.” This has never been truer than today, where we have lost opportunities for people who are not here due to illnesses, and where the place you are born (and live) has a significant impact on the quality, accessibility, and outcomes of healthcare.

What message would you like to convey to those who are watching or reading about diabetes and Zubi Group’s commitment?

Zubi Group is committed to seeking a cure, preventive diagnosis, and improving the quality of life for people living with T1D worldwide and their surroundings. We see the opportunity to reduce the burden of the disease on people with diabetes, their families, and friends.

To achieve this, we will contribute to mobilizing the entire community, from individuals to policymakers, businesses, investors, and innovators, to achieve the necessary impact to make type 1 diabetes a disease of the past.