Abbott, Bigfoot Biomedical to Partner on Automated Diabetes Management System
The pairings in the diabetes technology sector continue: On July 13, 2017, Abbott and Bigfoot Biomedical announced plans to work together on diabetes management systems that combine Abbott’s Freestyle Libre glucose sensing technology and Bigfoot’s insulin delivery systems.
The collaboration comes as people living with diabetes get closer to the holy grail of finger-stick free insulin delivery and glucose management, or the “artificial pancreas.” Every person with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and more and more with type 2 diabetes, must have daily insulin injections to control blood glucose levels; in a statement, Bigfoot put this number at about 6 million in the United States.1
The story of Bigfoot Biomedical is one of the most compelling in the diabetes technology sector: when Wall Street trader Bryan Mazlish’s 5-year-old son was diagnosed with T1D, he used his knowledge of how algorithms could replace human decision making to hack his way to a better glucose management solution with existing technology. Mazlish’s wife, a physician also living with T1D, offered ideas and feedback.
From there, Mazlish set about to commercialize technology that would free people with T1D from finger sticks and parents of T1D children from waking up multiple times a night for glucose checks. Bigfoot has both injection and infusion pump-based insulin delivery systems in development.2
Abbott, meanwhile, has pioneered technology that records up to 14 days’ worth of data without finger sticks or patient interaction, which is invaluable for physicians seeking a real look at glucose levels without relying on patients to record blood glucose readings or properly operate a device.3
Under the agreement: • Abbott will supply glucose management sensors for Bigfoot’s insulin systems in the United States, becoming the exclusive sensors. • Bigfoot will develop and commercialize multiple systems using Abbott’s Freestyle Libre sensors, including those for automatic insulin titration nd delivery.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Roche Acquires mySugr Digital Diabetes App
Roche has acquired the diabetes management app mySugr, which offers data tracking and coaching services for people living with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. In a statement, Roche described mySugr as “one of the leading mobile diabetes platforms in the market,” with more than 1 million users.1
The June 30, 2017, agreement lets Roche combine the mySugr mobile management tools with the company’s diabetes diagnostics business. “The acquisition allows Roche to expand its leading position in the area of diabetes management,” the company said in a statement. Terms were not disclosed.
Despite growing numbers of people with diabetes, both the pharmaceutical and technology sectors have been challenged by pricing pressure. Some have predicted consolidation in the digital health sphere, as multiple competitors have emerged before payers have completely figured out how to evaluate reimbursement criteria.
There are also good reasons for traditional device makers to pair with digital health companies to tech giants as big data become more important in healthcare. Medtronic has partnered with Glooko2 and Canary Health,3 and Dexcom, maker of continuous glucose monitors, has partnered with Google4 to make these devices smaller or even disposable, more like a Band-Aid.
The Roche acquisition grew out of a partnership with mySugr that started in 2014, which Roche said revealed “an excellent cultural fit.”
“Both our companies are passionate about taking diabetes management to the next level,” Roche chief executive officer Roland Diggelmann said in the company’s statement.
Frank Westermann, mySugr chief executive officer and cofounder, said the company was started with the purpose of using smartphones to solve everyday problems with diabetes management: “The mySugr team has filled a gap for over 1 million loyal users so far, and with Roche’s diabetes expertise and global network, mySugr will become an indispensable companion for hassle-free life.”
Roche is based in Basel, Switzerland, and makes the well-known Accu-Chek blood glucose meters, insulin delivery systems, and lancing devices; mySugr is based in Vienna, Austria, with offices in San Diego, California.