Rani Therapeutics Gains Funding for Robotic Pill

May 27, 2015

Rain Therapeutics announced Tuesday that is has secured funding from Novartis, Google Ventures, InCube Ventures and Ventura Health and other investors. The new round of funding allows San Jose, Calif.-based Rani to begin creating a manufacturing infrastructure needed for clinical trials of its “robotic pill,” an oral delivery alternative to injection of peptide proteins and therapeutic antibodies.

The pill consists of tiny, sugar-based needles that push into the intestine wall to administer the drug. Rani hopes its method of delivery could be used for a vast array of injected medicines, including insulin and treatments for rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis.

Past efforts to deliver large-scale biologics orally have failed since the medicines are usually destroyed in the stomach.

As part of the company’s deal with Novartis, Rani will conduct feasibility studies in which it will evaluate Novartis biologics delivered into the bloodstream using its proprietary pill. — Jason Scott