Pills and syringe (archive)
Pills and syringe (archive)ISTOCK

An insulin pill developed by an Israeli company has entered the final stage of testing before commercial use.

If approved, the pill, named ORMD-0801, could allow diabetics to ingest insulin, removing the need for regular injections of the blood sugar-regulating hormone.

Last week, ORMD-0801’s developer, the Jerusalem-based company Oramed, announced that the insulin pill had entered the final stages of testing, following nearly 15 years of development.

In 2019, ORMD-0801 was placed a fast-track for approval, and could be available to the public in three years if the US Food and Drug Administration clears the pill for general use.

Only type two diabetics will be able to use the pill initially, however, with additional tests required before the drug is cleared for type one diabetics as well.

The Oramed pill marks the culmination of three decades of research at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem to overcome the problems inherent in oral delivery of insulin.

Under normal circumstances, when insulin is ingested orally, the proteins in the hormone break down in the stomach before it can have any effect on the body.

A new special pill coating, coupled with absorption enhancers developed by Oramed, allows ORMD-0801 to keep the insulin intact until it reaches the intestines, where it is absorbed.