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Top Five Takeaways for Patients at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference

By Nancy Liu and Adam Brown

Twitter summary: One of the best #JPM14 yet for #diabetes – exciting new data, pipeline updates, & more!

What a fantastic start to 2014! On January 13 to 16, investors and representatives of innovated healthcare technology companies flocked to our hometown of San Francisco to attend the 32nd J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. It was one of the best years at J.P. Morgan yet, with lots of data on new diabetes drugs and devices as well as pipeline updates. Below, we summarize our top five takeaways for patients at the conference.

  1. Intarcia impressed with preliminary phase 3 data on ITCA-650, a unique implantable GLP-1 device. ITCA-650 is an implantable mini-pump that delivers the GLP-1 agonist exenatide (currently sold as Byetta or Bydureon). The device is about the size of a matchstick (see a photo here) and lasts for up to a year of use – making the lives of patients and their providers that much easier. Intarcia CEO Kurt Graves presented the results for a small 60-person trial at J.P. Morgan. In the trial, the 25 patients who reached week 26 by the time of analysis saw A1c decline by an astounding 3.2% from a high 10.9% baseline. Amazingly, 22% of patients achieved an A1c reduction of at least 4.0%. diaTribe will be closely following the results of this promising new device as the full data is released.

  2. Medtronic announced that the Minimed 640G predictive low glucose suspend management pump is expected to launch in Europe by October 31, 2014. This is Medtronic’s third delay of the launch, although their current timeline for the launch is still pretty soon. The Minimed 640G is the next step in the path to automated insulin delivery and builds on the threshold suspend feature of the MiniMed 530G (read our test drive in this issue) – instead of suspending insulin delivery when hypoglycemia is reached, the MiniMed 640G will suspend delivery when hypoglycemia is predicted. Please read our new now next for more information on the Minimed 640G and our thinking like a pancreas article on the pathway to a closed loop system.

  3. Halozyme announced the upcoming release of data from a new 400-patient trial of Hylenex, an injectable drug that speeds up the action of insulin. The trial is testing preadministration of Hylenex, meaning patients would take an injection of Hylenex prior to inserting an insulin pump infusion set. Also on the ultra-rapid-acting insulin front, MannKind expects an FDA Advisory Committee on Afrezza in April 1 – at which time the panel will vote on whether they recommend approving the promising ultra-fast-acting inhalable insulin (read our latest update on Afrezza here).

  4. The Bydureon (exenatide once weekly) dual-chambered pen is now under regulatory review, and a US decision is expected by the middle of 2014. In Europe, a decision is expected by the end of the year. The dual-chambered pen will eliminate the need for manually mixing (“reconstituting”) the drug and make taking it much, much easier for patients.

  5. In 2014, Dexcom expects to launch the Animas Vibe integrated with the G4 Platinum CGM, as well as the Dexcom Share remote monitoring program. A Tandem t:slim integrated G4 integrated pump is expected in 2014/2015, with smartphone integration expected in 2015. During the Dexcom presentation, CEO Mr. Terry Gregg emphasized the impressive growth that Dexcom has seen in patient use of CGMs, which may be reaching tipping point for acceptance and use. This is certainly an exciting time for the company as the G4 Platinum was presented with the Everyday Health Award for Emerging Technology and received pediatric approval just this month.