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Insulet Plans to Build an Integrated OmniPod Patch Pump and CGM Sensor

At the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in January, Insulet announced that it has been working with an unnamed company to integrate a CGM sensor directly into its OmniPod patch pump. This means that instead of having separate sites on the body for the CGM/transmitter and insulin pump, both would be located at a single site – that could be a big improvement, depending on how well it works. Clinical trials are expected to start in 2014, and the device may become available to patients in the next two to three years. As a reminder, Insulet’s next-generation smaller pod was recently approved and we expect to see that on the market very soon.

In animal studies, the device has apparently shown accuracy comparable to CGMs like the Dexcom G4 Platinum, Medtronic Enlite, and Abbott Navigator. A key difference with Insulet’s CGM is that the sensor would only be used as long as the patch pump – about 80 hours (the length of insulin’s stability in a pump). Since this is much shorter than all three aforementioned CGMs, and since CGMs tend to get more accurate the longer they are in the body (up to a certain point), we are interested to see how this new sensor performs within this short time frame. Eventually we would expect the pod to be approved for a longer period and with it, this CGM in development.

As a reminder, Insulet was previously working with Dexcom on a CGM integration agreement – the goal was to eliminate the need for a Dexcom receiver and have CGM data sent directly to the OmniPod Personal Diabetes Manager (PDM) handheld. Based on comments made by Insulet CEO Duane DeSisto, the company appears to be less focused on working with Dexcom on this partnership. We hope work eventually starts up again, since we think many Insulet/Dexcom users would appreciate having to carry one less device. Moreover, it would provide an interim solution until Insulet comes out with its own integrated CGM.

Insulet does not intend to make the integrated pump/CGM closed-loop device capable of automatically dosing insulin based on CGM readings. Instead, Insulet hopes the CGM data will arm patients with real-time knowledge, allowing them to better dose their own insulin. The hope is to use smart, predictive algorithms to alert users with green, yellow, and red lights that signify safe, slightly unsafe, or dangerous blood glucose levels. –AB/MN

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