The Business of Insulin

In 1921 Frederick Banting and medical student Charles Best, working in laboratory space provided by J.J.R. Macleod at the University of Toronto, first isolated insulin. Prior to their work, diabetes was literally a death sentence. People who developed diabetes would go into diabettic ketoacidosis, and die in hospitals because doctors had no means to treat them. From the Wikipedia article on insulin: “On January 11, 1922, Leonard Thompson, a 14-year-old diabetic who lay dying at the Toronto General Hospital, was given the first injection of insulin.”

The patent for insulin was sold to the University of Toronto for one half-dollar (Canadian). The scientists hoped that affordable insulin would become available quickly. The University then granted non-exclusive licenses to several medical companies. Continue reading “The Business of Insulin”