About Thermalin, Inc.

Thermalin is engineering new forms of insulin that will lower the burden of insulin use, increase patient adoption of and adherence to insulin therapy, improve patient lives and outcomes, and lower the cost of caring for people with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) or Type 2 Diabetes (T2D).

Founded in 2010 based on pioneering work by Dr. Michael Weiss on the structure and function of insulin analogues, Thermalin is overcoming the limitations of existing insulin products by re-engineering the insulin molecule to be more stable and to act more selectively. Thermalin’s formulations of these new molecules enable new delivery devices and systems that will transform lives.

Our Patients

Managing diabetes demands conscientious compliance to closely control glucose levels. All people with Type 1 Diabetes and about a quarter of people with Type 2 diabetes must take daily injections or use an insulin infusion pump.  Unfortunately,  poorly performing insulin products constrain the capabilities of delivery systems and make compliance more difficult, leading to poor glycemic control and the long-term sequelae of under-treated diabetes, like blindness, dialysis, amputations, and cardiovascular disease.

Some of the challenges Thermalin is working to help people overcome:

Many people must inject insulin before a meal to mitigate the spike of blood sugar from digestion.

Today’s “rapid” insulins take 30-40 minutes to start acting (allowing blood sugar to spike at the beginning of the meal) and can keep acting for an hour or more after the meal has ended (causing blood sugar to fall too far after the meal). Like a large boat trying to navigate a narrow channel, these not-fast-enough insulins also make it hard for the new, automated insulin pumps to make dosing decisions that keep blood sugar within the needed range.

The size and obtrusiveness of insulin pumps has long been an obstacle to their adoption.

Many patients prefer to inject themselves privately before meals rather than wear a visible stigma of their disease. Good treatment habits are developed – and destroyed – in the teenage years; for body-conscious teenagers, a pump which is too visible just won’t be adopted. This means many patients will not adopt the new, automated pumps that can significantly improve blood sugar control.

250,000 people in the U.S. and twice that number worldwide have Type 2 diabetes with extreme insulin resistance.

This syndrome has particularly high incidence among African Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, and people in Appalachia. Today’s rapid-acting insulins do not come in concentrated formulations. This means that to overcome their insulin resistance and control their blood sugar, these patients must inject large volumes of their meal-time and/or basal insulin.  Large injections are painful, which makes adherence (and good blood sugar control) very difficult for these individuals.

Diabetes is exploding in the developing world due to easier access to calories and less physically-demanding lifestyles.

Today’s insulins need to be refrigerated or they rapidly lose potency, forming amyloid “fibrils” that can also be immunogenic.  However, in many parts of the developing world patients do not have refrigerators and live long distances from clinics. Further, many of these clinics are not well served by “cold chain” distribution.  This means these patients do not have a reliable supply of needed insulin.

Our Science

Thermalin engineers therapeutic proteins to meet identified clinical needs based on a detailed structural understanding of the protein and its functional and dysfunctional interactions with itself and other molecules. Focused on these design objectives, we employ an extensive engineering toolkit to plan, simulate in-silico, then test in the lab new proteins that will have the desired clinical performance characteristics.

Some of the programs in our pipeline:

Type of Insulin

Ultra Rapid

How It Will Lower Burden

  • Easier, more precise mealtime control
  • Better automated dosing by automated, “closed loop” pumps

Stage of Development

No Refrigeration

  • Easier handling, especially where electricity is unreliable
  • Direct-To-Home delivery
  • Pre-filled, disposable “patch pumps” for people with Type 2 diabetes


  • Miniaturized Pumps
  • Smaller injections for people who need large doses

Insulin Patch

  • Once a week insulin that can be “turned off” (by removing the patch) if needed
  • No injections


  • Lower risk of hypoglycemia
  • Limiting the size of glucose spikes after snacking


  • No injections

Our Team

The Thermalin Team includes scientists who have significantly influenced the world of insulin for over 30 years. Founder Michael Weiss has published over 150 peer reviewed articles (more than half on insulin) and VP of Development Bruce Frank is a co-inventor of Humalog, the first ever fast acting insulin.

Michael Weiss, M.D., PhD

Founder & Chief Invention Officer
Robert A. Harris Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology at Indiana University and Director of Chemical Biology and Biotherapeutics at the Indiana University Precision Health Initiative, Mike has more than 150 publications, including four on his insulin analogue designs that were named “Paper of the Week” by the Journal of Biological Chemistry. Mike just completed a 5-year term as chair of the NIDDK’s Board of Scientific Councilors.  Until December 2017, Dr. Weiss was Cowan-Blum Professor of Cancer Research and Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Biochemistry & Medicine (Endocrine) and Director of the Institute for Therapeutic Protein Engineering at Case Western Reserve University.  He earned a BA, summa cum laude in Physics in 1978, an MD, summa cum laude, in 1985, and a Ph.D. in biophysics in 1986, all from Harvard.

Dod Michael, PhD

Chief Scientific Officer
Prior to joining Thermalin, Dod’s 18-year career at Eli Lilly and Company culminated with his serving as the Senior Director responsible for insulin biology research.  Prior to Lilly, Dr. Michael was a post-doctoral fellow at the Joslin Diabetes Center/Harvard Medical School in Boston, MA in Dr. C. Ronald Kahn’s laboratory.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas in Cell and Molecular Biology and a B.S. from the University of Alabama.

Richard Berenson, J.D., M.B.A.

Founder, CEO, Member of the Board
Rick co-founded Thermalin with Dr. Weiss. He has raised the funding, built the scientific and business teams, and driven the company’s strategy. Rick is a serial entrepreneur who has previously launched and financed multiple life science and other organizations around important new technologies in complex markets. A former McKinsey & Company consultant, Rick received a JD-MBA from Harvard Business and Law Schools in 1984.

Thomas Hattier, PhD

Vice President of R&D
Thom built Thermalin’s production and scientific teams in Cleveland. He is an accomplished researcher, who has driven development efforts in  the biotech and biopharma sectors, including at Myriad Genetics, AmpliCon, and Cellular Technology. Thom earned a BA at Connecticut College; an MS in biochemistry, PhD in pathology, and completed post-doctoral work in molecular genetics, all at Case Western Reserve University.

Bruce H. Frank, PhD

Senior Vice President of Insulin Discovery
Bruce was co-inventor of Humalog and retired from Eli Lilly after 34 years, where he held several senior management positions in insulin discovery, development, manufacturing, and regulatory affairs. He received his PhD in physical biochemistry from Northwestern University and did his post-doctoral work at Berkeley.

Susan Keefe, M.B.A.

Chief Financial Officer

Susan Keefe has a background in Finance, Human Resources, Administration, Corporate Development, Compliance and Marketing.  Her experience includes Life Sciences startups to middle market companies along with Proctor & Gamble and PwC. She received her MBA from the University of Chicago.

John Brooks

John L. Brooks III

Chairman of the Board
John is CEO of Healthcare Capital, which advises early-stage life science companies in all aspects of their formation, development, financing, and commercialization.  John was the President and CEO of the Joslin Diabetes Center, a clinical and research affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and a leading institution dedicated to the cure and treatment of diabetes. John has co-founded seven life science companies, including Insulet.  He was a founding managing partner of Prism Venture Partners, a venture capital fund that raised more than $1.25 billion in capital. John serves on several life science and not for profit boards, including as Chairman of the Board of CellNovo, a publically traded insulin pump manufacturer. John has an M.S. in Business and a B.B.A. cum laude, from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Katherine Bowdish, Ph.D.

Member of the Board
Katherine Bowdish is Vice President of Global R&D and Head of Sunrise at Sanofi. Katherine joined Sanofi in February 2013 to launch the Sunrise initiative following extensive experience in co-founding and leading early-stage biotechnology companies, driving the science as well as transactions involving financings, partnering, and M&A.

Katherine led Cambridge-based Permeon Biologics as its President and CSO. Prior to taking the helm at Permeon, Katherine co-founded and served as President and CEO of Anaphore (now RuiYi). Katherine was previously President of Alexion Antibody Technologies, Inc., and Senior Vice President of Alexion Pharmaceuticals upon leading the acquisition of Prolifaron by Alexion. She was the founder, CEO, and CSO of Prolifaron, a privately held antibody discovery company. She received her doctorate from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and her bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.

Tim Xiao

Member of the Board

Tim Xiao, B.Sc. FRM, is a Principal at Delos Capital since its inception in 2014 and has over 10 years’ experience in investment banking and life sciences investment. Tim started his career as an investment banker at China International Capital, and later joined the Investment Banking Division of Goldman Sachs where he completed a series of industry-defining transactions with total deal value over US$4 billion. Tim serves as a Board member for Liposeuticals, Curatia Medical and as a Board Observer for Allecra Therapeutics, Intrinsic Therapeutics and Atia Vision.

Important Developments…


Visit Us

Global Cardiovascular Innovation Center
10000 Cedar Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44106

Business Offices

Waban, MA 02468
(617) 938-3510

Contact Us

Join Us

With the recent news of our Sanofi Collaboration, we are currently hiring Lab/Research Associates to join our team here in Cleveland. Click one of the links below, as we may have a great opportunity for you.

Research Associate – Protein Formulation
Cleveland, OH

Formulate insulin analogs for preclinical development

Laboratory Associate – Protein Purification
Cleveland, OH

                                            Assist in the purification, characterization and tracking of insulin analogs and precursors from microbial and synthetic sources

Laboratory Associate – Protein Expression
Cleveland, OH

                                Support expression, screening, and quantitation of novel insulin analogs for therapeutic applications utilizing microbial systems

Laboratory Associate – Bioconjugation
Cleveland, OH

                                          Perform peptide/protein covalent modifications and bioconjugation to support project goals.