2023 Recap

3 min read

With apologies for a long hiatus from regular public communications, we have much news to share as the holidays approach and we reflect, celebrate, and prepare for the new year.

We have not had regular news relevant to our mission and of interest to a general and non-technical audience developing at a fast pace, and have maintained a tight focus on the technical work at the core of our mission to ensure our efforts don’t get diluted with general diabetes news and advocacy. This is a concern because many organizations working in diabetes and healthcare on technical work such as treatments and cures suffer from mission creep that leads them to shift the focus of their efforts primarily to fundraising and advocacy instead of their more specific missions.

We remain actively seized on the specific mission of Open Insulin, which is to make open source technology to make insulin and organize local production under accountable ownership and governance. We have meanwhile heard from and communicated ad-hoc with many people who are interested in the state and progress of our efforts, so with the help of Louise Lassalle in the new French chapter, we are preparing to release regular newsletter-style updates going forward.

Here are the highlights regarding the current state of our work.

On the organization side, Open Insulin has become an independent nonprofit corporation that coordinates work among 3 labs. In addition to our founding chapter at Counter Culture Labs in Oakland, the network has expanded by adding a chapter at BUGSS in Baltimore and one in France as well. As part of our transition to a standalone nonprofit, we developed and adopted policies that formalize our mission and prohibit activities outside of its scope, and instituted a federated governance structure that preserves the autonomy of the participating local organizations, prioritizes governance by those actively working on the project, and prohibits participation in governance based on donations or by other non-aligned interests.

Meanwhile in the labs, we are primarily working on engineering strains that can produce significant yields of insulin reliably, which is the main bottleneck of our project, and involves inherent randomness – it is done by a process that shares some traits with artificial evolution, and involves generating and testing many transformants and screening them for desirable traits for insulin production.

Over the coming days, you can look forward to more posts discussing ongoing work and related issues at a more detailed level.

Thanks as always for your interest and support.