Abbott partners with Sanofi, Medtronic joins forces with Novo Nordisk to integrate glucose monitoring into smart insulin pens

Abbott and Sanofi announced a partnership Monday to create a "connected device experience" for patients with diabetes by combining sensor-based glucose monitoring technology with insulin dosing information for use in future smart pens, insulin titration apps and cloud software. In a separate collaboration, also announced Monday, Novo Nordisk agreed to allow dosing information from its future smart insulin pens to be shared with Medtronic's continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, such as the Guardian Connect system.

The non-exclusive agreement between Abbott and Sanofi will allow data sharing, with the user's consent, between Abbott's FreeStyle Libre mobile app and cloud software and Sanofi's connected insulin pens, apps and cloud software that are in development. "This data sharing will enable both people with diabetes and their doctors to make better informed treatment decisions around medication, nutrition and lifestyle," Abbott said, adding that the companies aim to launch the system in the next few years, pending regulatory approvals.

Jared Watkin, Abbott's senior vice president of diabetes care, remarked that "building a digital ecosystem around FreeStyle Libre simplifies the user experience by consolidating how people get their data." Meanwhile, Gustavo Pesquin, who heads Sanofi's global diabetes and cardiovascular franchise, suggested that the alliance will "help improve control and the quality-of-life decision cycle for patients through individualised glycaemic management of diabetes."

Abbott noted that its FreeStyle Libre device is used by patients in 46 countries, with partial or full reimbursement of the system secured in 33 countries, including France, Ireland, Japan, the UK and the US. The FreeStyle LibreLink app allows users to capture and view their real-time glucose levels, along with their eight-hour glucose history and how their glucose is currently changing on their smartphone, while the LibreView cloud-based diabetes management system provides reports from the FreeStyle Libre system to patients and healthcare professionals. In 2017, Abbott and Bigfoot Biomedical entered into a US agreement to develop what they said would be "the first-ever personalised, user-friendly systems intended to optimise insulin delivery without the need for fingerstick calibration of a glucose sensor."

Under the non-exclusive collaboration between Medtronic and Novo Nordisk, the Danish company said it expects to launch its smart insulin pens, NovoPen 6 and NovoPen Echo Plus, starting next year. Meanwhile, the Guardian Connect system will be updated in order to integrate data from these Novo Nordisk smart pens.

Alejandro Galindo, president of Medtronic's advanced insulin management division, stated that the new agreement "will streamline the sharing of two of the most important pieces of information – glucose measurements and insulin dosed. With this, [we] can further enhance our...analytics and insights to help ease the burden of diabetes." Last year, Novo Nordisk entered into partnerships with Dexcom, Glooko and Roche "to support the future integration of its connected pens with broader digital health solutions."

Medtronic noted that as the only CGM system with predictive alerts up to 60 minutes in advance, the Guardian Connect system, which is approved in the US and CE-marked in Europe, helps patients who need multiple daily injections "to more proactively manage their diabetes with meaningful, personalised insights," while healthcare providers may access this CGM data to run reports that help them inform therapy decisions.  

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