Dexcom's partnerships are giving people with diabetes technology that will be less invasive and use products that everyone else wears and uses: fitness trackers and smartphones.
Fitbit and Dexcom took a step toward making diabetes technology just like what everyone else wears by revealing that Fitbit’s new Ionic smartwatch will let users read continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) data right on their wrists.
The feature will be part of a broader collaboration between the 2 companies, which was announced in a statement ahead of Dexcom presentation Monday morning at the 15th Annual Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference in New York City.
By combining CGM data with Fitbit’s Ionic watch, people with diabetes can track their blood glucose and their activity in one place, company officials said.
“The strength of our brand and our ability to track critical health metrics continuously for up to 4+ days, coupled with Dexcom's market leadership in CGM, present a powerful combination that we hope will help millions of people better manage their diabetes,” said James Park, CEO of Fitbit, in a statement. “With Ionic, we are focused on driving positive health outcomes and more health focused tools, and this collaboration is a wonderful example of how we plan to bring that vision to our users.”
“The collaboration between Dexcom and Fitbit is an important step in providing useful information to people with diabetes that is both convenient and discreet,” said Kevin Sayer, president and CEO, Dexcom. “We believe that providing Dexcom CGM data on Fitbit Ionic, and making that experience available to users of both Android and iOS devices, will have a positive impact on the way people manage their diabetes.”
Ionic will offer users a health and fitness platform that includes heart-rate tracking and workouts, as well as other Fitbit features. The collaboration will allow the Dexcom CGM users to connect with other users for support, according to the statement. The companies project availability of the CGM function in early 2018.
Morgan Stanley discussion. In Monday’s appearance, Dexcom’s Steven R. Pacelli, executive vice president for Strategy & Corporate Development, discussed the upcoming leaps that are coming for CGM technology. Coming soon will be the G6, with a 10-day sensor and once-a-day calibration; Pacelli said Dexcom will file with FDA in the third quarter of 2017, with a launch anticipated in 2018.
What’s coming after that, from Dexcom’s partnership with Google’s Verily, is truly exciting—a sensor the size of a dime that could free users from calibration, although Pacelli said FDA must become comfortable with that concept.
Experts predict these smaller, cheaper, products that require less user involvement will take CGM beyond the population with type 1 diabetes, who number about 1.25 million Americans. While CGM is standard of care for this population, use is less common among the 29 million who have type 2 diabetes (T2D). But many believe broader adoption by T2D users could offer improved glycemic control, less disease progressions, and ultimately savings for payers.
A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine last month found that after 24 weeks, T2D patients on multiple daily insulin injections lowered their glycated hemoglobin by 0.3% using the Dexcom G4 compared with usual care.
Pacelli said Dexcom foresees a future in which people with diabetes wouldn’t have to be “tethered” to insulin pumps, but could instead use smaller, smarter sensors and smart insulin pens, with Bluetooth technology feeding the data to the person’s smartphone. “All the work is being done by the phone,” he said.
Such solutions are the least invasive for patients, and the most cost effective for payers, Pacelli said.