Skip to main content

About the project

A team of biohackers is looking for new ways to make insulin. Insulin in the Unites States is very expensive because there are no generic laboratories that produce it. This affects the quality of life of millions of insulin-dependent citizens. 

The team led by Antony Di Franco (who has been struggling with diabetes for more than a decade) started OpenInsulin with the objective demonstrating the feasibility of producing cheaper, simpler, and more accessible ways to make insulin. They also plan to make their discovery and methodology available to generic laboratories and to the public.

The project and updates on their progress can be found at

“We want to show that a bunch of people with varying levels of scientific training can come together with a minimal budget and community space and do legitimate scientific research.”

Source: Popular Science Magazine. “These Biohackers are Creating  Open-Source Insulin”. November 18, 2015

How does it work?

OpenInsulin’s goal is to insert a DNA sequence into E.coli bacteria in order to induce the production of human proinsulin. The team is working with more than one DNA sequence in order to increase the probabilities of success.

“In Stage 1, the team will insert an optimized DNA sequence for insulin into E. coli bacteria, induce the bacteria to express insulin precursors, and verify that human proinsulin has been produced. We are trying two different sequences to maximize results.”