Medtronic, Qualcomm Latest of Diabetes Partnerships

The collaboration is the latest in a series of partnerships for diabetes care announced by the medical device maker.

The medical device maker Medtronic has added the technology company Qualcomm to its list of partners for creating new tools to manage diabetes.

On Wednesday, Medtronic announced it had formed a collaboration with Qualcomm Life, a subsidiary, to develop “future generation” continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems, specifically for those with type 2 diabetes (T2D).

While CGM technology has become standard of care in type 1 diabetes (T1D), it is less common for those with T2D. Increasingly, however, those with advanced cases are treated with intensive regimens, including insulin, that resemble the care for persons with T1D.

Earlier this spring, Medtronic announced results from clinical trials that showed patients with T2D who switched to its MiniMed insulin pump had superior glycemic control over a 6-month period than those who used injections for insulin therapy. According to the American Diabetes Association, about 29 million people in the United States have diabetes, and all but 1.25 million have T2D.

In a statement, Medtronic’s Laura Stoltenberg, vice president and general manager for Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies, said the company sees CGM as an “increasingly used diagnostic tool that empowers physicians and patients with meaningful glucose data to tackle glucose control.” Qualcomm Life’s leadership in wireless technologies, she said, will allow Medtronic to develop affordable systems for glucose monitoring by the T2D population.

“Qualcomm Life’s connected health expertise along with our enabling 2net Connectivity Platform and 2net Design capabilities fit naturally with Medtronic’s diabetes leadership in brining future generation CGM systems to the market,” Rick Valencia, president and general manager of Qualcomm Life, Inc., said in a statement.

A CGM system for T2D patients that was affordable and scalable would allow collection of blood glucose data without relying on patients to collect the data daily themselves. This could be valuable for physicians and health systems as diabetes outcomes increasingly become a critical element of reimbursement models as the nation moves toward value-based care.

Medtronic’s collaboration with Qualcomm is the latest in a series of partnerships, in areas of technology, therapy, and with payers. It has previously announced relationships with the diabetes data firm Glooko, insulin infusion set maker Becton, Dickinson & Co., and the insulin maker, Sanofi.

Its payer relationship with UnitedHealthcare, however, drew criticism from leaders in the T1D advocacy community when the insurer announced that it would begin transitioning most adult patients who use insulin pumps to Medtronic products starting July 1, 2016.