Abbott Laboratories and Tandem Diabetes Care Inc. have finalized an agreement related to integrated diabetes solutions. Specifically, the duo is planning to combine Abbott's Freestyle Libre continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) technology with San Diego-based Tandem's insulin delivery systems, with an eye toward providing more options for diabetes management.
The companies reported last October that they intended to work together, a move that resulted in this agreement that covers the technical development of device integration and associated commercial support activities. Their initial targets for commercial activities are the U.S. and Canada; however, more geographies will be eyed at a later date.
"We're excited to integrate our insulin delivery systems with Abbott's glucose-sensing technology, and we look forward to expanding options for our customers so that they can combine devices that best suit their personal needs," said John Sheridan, president and CEO of Tandem Diabetes Care. "We are proud to have an insulin pump capable of remote software updates that can make access to future integrations possible for in-warranty T:slim X2 users at the time of release without requiring a new pump."
When asked about a timeline for the first integrated solution, Abbott, of Abbott Park, Ill., told BioWorld that the project is in its early stages, and, as a result, it did not have specifics currently. It also declined to disclose financial details.
Still, the company is excited about the possibilities. “Diabetes is a condition that can require a lot of different technologies and treatments,” the company responded when asked about how the partnership fit in with others around interoperability. It also highlighted the success of its Freestyle Libre technology, noting that patients have said it makes a huge difference for them.
Indeed, word of successful partnership comes two weeks after Abbott reported U.S. FDA clearance of its Freestyle Libre 2 integrated CGM technology for those ages 4 and older.
At the time, analysts were quick to point to the importance of the FDA’s action, even though it came about a year later than experts had expected, as William Blair’s Margaret Kaczor noted. With that said, she highlighted the device’s next-gen sensor as strengthening “an already formidable competitor to the U.S. CGM market featuring real-time alerts and improved accuracy algorithms in Libre’s relatively smaller form factor.”
Despite the near-term launch, there wasn’t a dedicated new smartphone app for Libre 2. "Even so, the smartphone app is expected to come in the next few months, suggesting a broader impact or launch in fourth quarter 2020.”
A day after the initial announcement was made in 2019, David Lewis from Morgan Stanley noted that the company appeared to still have confidence in Libre 2 iCGM. Then-CEO Miles White emphatically replied yes. “The product is performing wonderfully. The growth is strong. The expansion is strong. There's a lot to be pretty encouraged about. And while I recognize a lot of people, including us, are feeling impatience, impatience doesn't translate to concern.”
For its part, Tandem has seen success with its T:slim X2, which was the first to receive clearance as an alternate controller enabled (ACE) infusion pump in 2019. The special controls for ACE pumps allow for reliable, secure communication with compatible external devices.
With this collaboration, Abbott and Tandem will work to digitally connect these technologies for future automated insulin delivery systems.
But this hardly the only collaboration for Abbott. “[W]e're partnering with other like-minded leaders in the diabetes space … to integrate our respective technologies to transform as many lives as possible, including people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, whether using insulin or not, and make managing diabetes simple, effective and affordable.” To that end, it is working with the likes of Novo Nordisk, Sanofi, Bigfoot, Insulet and Omada.
Looking ahead to other potential partnerships, Abbott noted that companies involved in diabetes recognize the importance of interoperability between devices. “Abbott strategically continues to select partners that share the same goal to help simplify the lives of people with diabetes,” it added.