In just over a year, CeQur® has reached major milestones in financing, company growth and the pilot launch of its three-day insulin delivery device for type 2 diabetes, CeQur Simplicity™. In this interview, CEO Bradley Paddock explains how the company is navigating this trajectory and scaling up to positively impact more patients and healthcare providers.
Since you joined CeQur as CEO in 2019, the company has experienced rapid growth. What have been the significant highlights for you?
As I think back on the past three years, the five most important highlights include closing the $115M Series C5 financing (led by Credit Suisse Entrepreneur Capital Ltd. and Endeavour Vision) in April 2021, the tremendous advancements we’ve made in manufacturing, the feedback we’ve received from real-world experience with the product – where 95% of our patients have been very or completely satisfied – the impressive clinical results for patients that have been similar or better to what was experienced in the randomised controlled trial, and, finally, the general excitement from health care providers who are now actively prescribing the product. And I might add a sixth, which is that we’ve grown from 10 to 60 employees in the last year, and built a culture based on accountability, performance, integrity, and a great place to work!
Tell us about the pilot launch of CeQur Simplicity. How has it progressed and what is the feedback from health care providers and patients?
We are happy to report that the pilot launch is complete; we have over 1,000 patients using the product today. During the pilot we grew the sales team to eight people working across six U.S. states. Reimbursement has exceeded our expectations, and based on the manufacturing success, we are now scaling up to approximately 30 sales reps for a limited market release covering about half the country.
We consistently hear that CeQur Simplicity™ is a simple product – easy to use and easy for the patient to learn. In fact, there was a silver lining to conducting the pilot during COVID-19 in that we trained about one-third of the patients virtually instead of in the physician’s office – learning that it was a very successful way to do so. We will leverage and utilise virtual training moving forward as part of our commercial strategy.
What are some of the most memorable real-world experiences patients have shared with you so far?
We have had many patients who have broken down in tears when they first used the product, saying its discretion and ease of use has completely changed their life and given them the freedom to live an active lifestyle while getting their blood sugar levels under control – for some patients, it’s the first time in decades. The patient impact is huge.
How are you preparing the groundwork for scaling up a broader launch to bring this device to more patients?
First, we’re making strategic moves to build our leadership team: We’ve just hired a new VP of sales with a track record of building world-class sales teams, and his job will be to scale the organisation. We are hiring a chief marketing officer with deep expertise in direct-to-consumer marketing, since we learned in the pilot that this will be an effective tool in reaching the patient population. We are also making a significant effort to work with diabetes communities to share our story. 1 out of 10 Americans develop diabetes, so there is a very large diabetes community that interacts and finds support through patient groups, dieticians, various smart phone apps, print publications and online platforms.
What’s your outlook for the company for the next one to two years? What are your biggest undertakings and what are you excited about?
Step one is that, over the next six months, we will achieve some very important milestones with manufacturing. In parallel to that, the next 24 months will be critical to the growth of the company where we’ll be rapidly expanding our commercial team and model. CeQur Simplicity™ is uniquely positioned with no equivalent, and an addressable market size of USD 7 billion in the US, which is incredibly rare for a single medtech product – so, looking towards 2023, it is an exciting time to have the opportunity to share this device widely and impact thousands of patients.