Diabetes management is a focus area for a number of digital health companies, and increasingly large medical device companies like Medtronic and Dexcom are turning to smartphone apps and connected devices for their consumer offerings. So it’s no surprise that at the 77th Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association, which start today, there is a significant health tech presence.
We didn’t make it out to San Diego ourselves this year, but a lot of the digital health companies have already announced their major news from the conference. As we did last year we’re rounding up that news here, and we’ll update this piece as more news breaks. We’re even including a few news tidbits from this week that weren’t announced in connection with ADA but impact the diabetes space. Read on for the latest from small startups to major movers and shakers.
It’s been a big week in the news for the continuous glucose monitor maker. On Monday Dexcom got an important name drop at Apple’s WWDC: The company will be one of the first to take advantage of Apple’s addition of native Bluetooth to the Apple Watch. Dexcom has an Apple Watch app at the moment for users of its CGM, but it currently requires the phone to be in range. Now the Watch and the CGM will be able to communicate directly.
Then on Wednesday the company announced its long-awaited Android app for Dexcom Share. The Android app just now received FDA clearance, and the company will roll it out this month.
At the conference, Dexcom will announce an update to CLARITY, the company’s diabetes management software platform. Dexcom is working with the International Diabetes Center (IDC) to incorporate the Ambulatory Glucose Profile, a report developed by IDC. AGP is a standardized way of reporting patient glucose data.
“AGP reports have been used for several years by physicians,” Dr. George Grunberger, chairman of the Grunberger Diabetes Institute, explained in a statement. “[It] presents the most relevant statistical and graphical information that would allow clinicians to quickly assess the glucose control of a patient and make meaningful clinical decisions. By having a wider adoption of this report by medical device companies, it allows the information to be agnostic to the manufacturer. AGP can become the EKG report of diabetology – where there is one standard glucose report that all clinicians can interpret.”
One Drop Medical, a direct-to-consumer diabetes management system that consists of a lancing device, test strips and a companion app, has expanded its subscription program and launched an Amazon Alexa integration. One Drop subscribers can command the voice assistant to track blood glucose, food and physical activity within the One Drop app, eliminating the need to manually enter any information.
"Accessibility is a foundational value at One Drop," One Drop CEO and founder Jeff Dachis said in a statement. "Now, with new voice and alternative visual interfaces, we are extending our commitment to accessible care with features and programs that allow access to data-driven diabetes care for those with vision challenges, advanced neuropathy, or limited dexterity/mobility, the elderly, caregivers, as well as those challenged by the visual/tactile interfaces associated with smartphones."
Additionally, One Drop is now offering two new specialized diabetes education and coaching programs – one on how to deal with the burnout that comes from having a chronic condition, and another for advanced carb counting. The New York-based company will also share results from clinical studies of their system during the ADA conference.
Medtronic will present results from several studies, ranging from clinical effectiveness of devices to how machine learning is impacting personalized diabetes management. Scientific presentations will cover insulin pump therapy performance for the MiniMed and SmartGuard systems as well as an update on the performance of SugarIQ, the app Medtronic developed with IBM Watson last year.
The app includes a manual food log and integrates data from Medtronic MiniMed Connect. As users record data about what they eat, when they use insulin, and their blood glucose levels, Watson machine learning generates predictive insights. Medtronic will also delve into notification and engagement strategies, such as in-clinic versus at-home management with email notifications. The company will also host a webcast on June 10 to update their diabetes product pipelines, market outlook and clinical data.
T1D Exchange & Admetsys
Boston-based nonprofit T1D Exchange, which is solely focused on spurring innovation and research in type 1 diabetes, is now working with artificial pancreas technology provider Admetsys. The exact terms of the partnership weren’t disclosed, but T1D Exchange will allocate resources to continue the development of Admetsys’ Automated Insulin Delivery (AID) system for hospital use. The technology, which has been used in three clinical trials, uses a standard IV to draw a small blood sample every few minutes, measure glucose levels and return the blood back to the patient. From there, Admetsys creates a computational model to direct insulin dosages from syringe pumps.
Diabetes management company Glooko will detail results from two retrospective studies at ADA. The studies show that the Glooko mobile app led to a decrease in average blood glucose, estimated A1C (eA1C) and hyperglycemia rates in people with diabetes. Users of the mobile application also did more blood glucose testing than the control group. The drop in average blood glucose was 3.54 percent. App users were 4.38 percent less likely to experience hyperglycemic events.
“We are thrilled to see this additional clinical evidence that shows the positive impact Glooko can have on people with diabetes,” Rick Altinger, CEO of Glooko, said in a statement. “Glooko’s mission has always been to improve the clinical outcomes for people with diabetes by making diabetes management easier through digital tools. Our user satisfaction rates coupled with this clinical evidence adds credence to the investments that digital health companies have been making to improve the lives of people with chronic diseases.”
Ascensia & Voluntis
Ascensia, a business unit created last year when Panasonic Healthcare Holdings acquired Bayer Diabetes Care, is now working with Paris, France-based app maker Voluntis. Ascensia makes the Contour Next One and Contour Next Link, a pair of connected glucometers that received FDA clearance last year, and Voluntis will develop an app called the Insulia Diabetes Management Companion for people with type 2 diabetes. The glucometers will connect via Bluetooth to the app, allowing blood glucose readings to be used to calculate insulin dosing.
“Type 2 diabetes is a complex condition, especially for people using insulin therapy as part of their management. We’re excited to be working together with Voluntis to empower people with Type 2 diabetes by helping them to better manage their insulin treatment,” Ascensia CEO Michael Kloss said in a statement. “This partnership helps us move further towards our ambition of providing integrated diabetes management, which we see as the future. It is our first partnership in the area of medication management, which is a critical component of integrated diabetes management, and we see Voluntis as a key partner in helping to deliver this goal.”
Israel-based smartphone-connected glucometer company DarioHealth isn’t announcing data or new features at ATA but will announce a new social initiative called DarioCares. DarioHealth will donate a portion of its proceeds to charitable and nonprofit organizations working in the field of diabetes.
"The ADA conference is one of the biggest annual events in the diabetes industry,” Chairman and CEO Erez Raphael said in a statement. “Many NGOs will be there and we look forward to strengthening our relationships with them and raising diabetes awareness. Furthermore, DarioCares is an excellent chance to play an active role with leading organizations that are driving change for people with diabetes. This is a win-win opportunity where we can make a significant contribution to the diabetes community."
Digital health company MedAngel launched an app and device at ADA for monitoring the temperature of temperature-sensitive medications like insulin. The platform consists of a wireless temperature sensor that’s placed with medications and an iOS and Android app that alerts the user when the medication goes out of a safe temperature range.
“Our initial idea was that we were resolving a worry for people who use medications, but what we are realizing more and more is that this is actually a huge gap in quality assurance,” Laura Krämer, the pharmacist on the MedAngel team, said in a statement. “It is absurd that temperature is thoroughly monitored throughout the delivery chain, but this stops at the point of dispensing to patients. It is suddenly their responsibility to handle and store several month’s supplies of drugs correctly while completely flying blind.”
The sensor is available for $49 on Amazon and on MedAngel’s website.