In the mid-70s, Poo's daughter, Cristina, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at just 3 years old. He and his wife, Tina, quickly got involved with the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation to help raise money to find a cure. But as an engineer and owner of Altira Inc., a Miami-based plastic bottle manufacturing company, he knew he could do more.
An opportune meeting with a then-young scientist and inventor, Camillo Ricordi, M.D., who is now director of the Diabetes Research Institute and Cell Transplant Center at the University of Miami, was the start of this enduring relationship and a new company, Biorep Technologies, created in 1994. Now, 25 years later, Poo [pronounced Pō] has worked side by side with DRI scientists to design and manufacture dozens of patented medical devices, which are distributed to leading pharmaceutical and medical institutions around the world.
It all started with the Ricordi Chamber, the device invented by Dr. Ricordi that makes islet cell transplantation, a procedure that can restore insulin production in diabetes patients, possible.
"We originally built the Ricordi Chamber from scratch. We tried to find companies interested in helping us but were unable to find anyone that was willing to produce it," explained Dr. Ricordi, who is acknowledged by his peers as one of the world's leading scientists in diabetes cure-focused research and cell transplantation. "It was thanks to Ramon Poo that we started producing the first chambers with state-of-the-art technology."
Demand for the device increased as the Ricordi Chamber became the standard piece of equipment used by doctors working in islet transplantation the world over. As needs grew, Poo decided to create a new business entity that would develop innovative products to help researchers defeat diabetes. According to Managing Director Felipe Echeverri, all Biorep's diabetes equipment initiates from the DRI.
"We're not scientists; we're engineers. All the biology and science behind the ideas come from them," said Echeverri. "We get a lot of calls from different universities and research centers around the world, and we ship the technologies developed at the DRI to over 35 countries now."
For Poo, it's all about getting good results that will help lead to a cure for his daughter and millions more. As he looks back on the countless hours and money he has donated to the cause: "We just said this is something we have to do, and we do it. We all have the dream of finding the cure."
Get the whole story and video at DiabetesReseach.org/biorep
About the Diabetes Research Institute and Foundation
The mission of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation is to provide the Diabetes Research Institute with the funding necessary to cure diabetes now. The Diabetes Research Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine leads the world in cure-focused research. As one of the largest and most comprehensive research centers dedicated to curing diabetes, the DRI is aggressively working to develop a biological cure by restoring natural insulin production and normalizing blood sugar levels without imposing other risks. Researchers have already shown that transplanted islet cells allow patients to live without the need for insulin therapy. Some study participants have maintained insulin independence for more than 10 years. The DRI is now building upon these promising outcomes through its BioHub strategy, a multidisciplinary, three-pronged approach for addressing the major challenges that stand in the way of a cure: eliminate the need for anti-rejection drugs, reset the immune system to block autoimmunity, and develop an unlimited supply of insulin-producing cells. For more information, please visit DiabetesResearch.org or call 800-321-3437.
About Biorep Technologies, Inc.
Biorep Technologies, Inc., was founded in 1994 as a privately owned family business with the mission to help the Diabetes Research Institute (DRI) with their research efforts to find the biological cure for type I diabetes. As a full-service development firm, Biorep has an exclusive focus on medical products and over 25 years of experience developing medical devices. Biorep is ISO 13485 certified and FDA registered. For more information, visit Biorep.com or call 305-330-4449.
SOURCE Diabetes Research Institute Foundation