- DexCom announced last week the acquisition of TypeZero Technologies, a developer of algorithms that manage automated insulin delivery (AID) for people with diabetes. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
- TypeZero’s inControl diabetes management system is designed to integrate with both AID systems and smart pens for insulin injection.
- Dexcom said it expects to support the first commercial launch of an AID system using TypeZero’s inControl algorithm in 2019.
After years of research, advances in medical technology that can make it easier for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar levels are coming at a rapid pace.
A number of medical device makers are working to bring to market closed loop insulin delivery systems, which are also known as the artificial pancreas. The devices automatically monitor blood sugar and deliver insulin to regulate it, with the goal to improve blood sugar control, preventing highs and lows. The devices also aim to eliminate the need for patients to prick their fingers to check their blood sugar and to manually inject insulin.
Medtronic’s MiniMed 670G hybrid closed loop artificial pancreas, approved in September 2016, was a breakthrough, combining a continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system that communicates with an insulin pump. It still requires the patient to enter carbohydrate information at mealtime and calibrate the sensor with periodic finger sticks.
Various companies are focused on different parts of the puzzle toward development of a closed loop system. Algorithm software such as TypeZero’s is at the intersection of CGM and automatic insulin delivery with a pump. An algorithm calculates the amount of insulin needed to ensure a patient’s blood glucose stays in a healthy range.
Dexcom makes a continuous glucose monitor that uses a sensor inserted just under the skin to provide blood sugar readings every five minutes to a smartphone or Dexcom receiver. Competitors in the CGM market include Abbott Laboratories, maker of the Freestyle Libre device, and Senseonics Holdings, which earlier this month received approval for an implantable CGM.
San Diego, California-based Dexcom and Charlottesville, Virginia-based TypeZero have collaborated with the University of Virginia, which is conducting artificial pancreas clinical trials. Insulin pump maker Tandem Diabetes Care has been working with Dexcom and TypeZero to integrate their technologies into the NIH-funded International Diabetes Closed Loop trial.
Other companies developing automated insulin delivery systems include Bigfoot Biomedical, Insulet, Lilly and Roche.