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Diabetes Devices Expand: Medtronic Will Improve InPen Technology and Availability, and Ascensia Invests in Senseonics' CGM

By Eliza Skoler, Matthew Garza, and Katie Mahoney

Two exciting technology partnerships were recently announced: Medtronic will acquire Companion Medical in the next few months to advance insulin delivery and increase access to InPen, plus, Ascensia has partnered with Senseonics to promote the implantable Eversense CGM

Four diabetes technology companies have recently announced partnerships and acquisitions with the goal of getting improved devices to more people with diabetes around the world.

Medtronic Buys InPen To Expand Insulin Delivery Options

Medtronic recently acquired Companion Medical, the company behind InPen. InPen is the only smart insulin dosing pen cleared by the FDA in the United States, and it is also cleared in Europe. About 17,000 InPens were sold in 2019. Medtronic currently makes insulin pumps, continuous glucose monitors (CGM), and automated insulin delivery (AID) systems. The decision will allow Medtronic and InPen to help more people with diabetes – type 1 or type 2 – who take multiple daily injections of insulin (MDI).

InPen is a reusable, Bluetooth-enabled smart insulin pen that aims to make insulin injection safer – it automatically captures mealtime doses and keeps track of insulin on board. Its app (which can be downloaded for Apple iOS and Android) helps you easily track insulin doses and glucose levels, and it includes a bolus calculator which can help prevent insulin “stacking.” The app also creates an easily accessible report combining your glucose and insulin data – this tool is particularly helpful for working with your healthcare team. The device became available in US pharmacies in 2019, and was FDA-cleared for children just a few months ago.

The companies plan to:

  • Combine Medtronic’s current insulin dose calculation algorithms with the InPen technology to deliver more personal dosing advice to people

  • Use Medtronic’s global reach to give more people access to InPen around the world, simplifying daily insulin dosing and calculation

  • Integrate Medtronic’s Guardian CGM with the InPen

InPen requires a prescription and is covered by many insurance companies in the US. Most InPen users pay a $35 copay for the device, which lasts one-year. Companion Medical has a co-pay assistance program for people with insurance coverage – find out if you qualify here. You can read more about InPen here.

If you use InPen and need assistance, you can still call Companion Medical for support at 1-844-843-7903.

Ascensia and Senseonics Partner to Bring Eversense CGM to More People with Diabetes

Ascensia Diabetes Care announced a new global partnership with Senseonics. Ascensia is well known for its blood glucose meter (BGM) technology, including the Contour products used by millions of people around the world. On the other side of the partnership, Senseonics is leading long-term, implantable continuous glucose monitor (CGM) technology with its Eversense products. Under the new agreement, Ascensia will be the global distributor of Senseonics CGM technology (including the Eversense, Eversense XL, and any future products) until at least 2025.

This partnership has considerable potential. As an established producer of blood glucose meters, Ascensia will be able to use its reach to get the Eversense CGM into the hands of more people than ever before. Ascensia’s focus on marketing will allow Senseonics to devote more resources to the research and development of new products:

  • Eversense – a 90-day implantable CGM, the first of its kind, is already on the market.

  • Eversense XL – the 180-day implantable CGM is the world’s first long-term CGM (currently available in Europe). For people in the US, FDA submission is planned to occur soon, with clearance expected in early 2021. The new 180-day Eversense is expected to reduce calibration frequency from twice daily to once daily, a difference from the current Eversense XL in Europe.

  • Much further down the pipeline, Senseonics is looking towards the creation of a 365-day implantable CGM – imagine a CGM that is inserted by your healthcare team only once a year, and requires very few calibrations!

The agreement is focused on improving CGM technology, and access to it, while allowing each company to focus on what they do best. Robert Schumm, the President of Ascensia Diabetes Care explained that the combination of Ascensia’s commercial expertise and infrastructure with Senseonics’ product research and development will help get the Eversense to more people with diabetes around the world.

For users of Ascensia or Senseonics devices, the companies have not expressed changes to existing products. Customer support will continue to be split between the two companies. Ascensia will manage the “frontline interactions” with users, including questions about product use, performance, ordering, returns, and warranty, as well as support for healthcare professionals. Senseonics will handle “the second line” of technical support for customers.

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