- Medtronic is adding meal detection software developer Klue to the ranks of its diabetes unit, per an announcement Tuesday.
- The Silicon Valley startup developed gesture-sensing technology that can recognize when a person is eating or drinking and assess various consumption metrics via activity trackers and analytics technology. The goal is to learn more about a person's eating behaviors, which could make an automated insulin delivery system smarter, Medtronic said in a statement.
- Medtronic plans to incorporate the technology into a future personalized closed loop (PCL) system for diabetes management, which received breakthrough device designation from FDA in February. The company told investors in June it's targeting a product submission to FDA in the second half of fiscal year 2021.
In Medtronic's existing 670G hybrid closed loop system, the first of its kind on the U.S. market, users must manually enter meals and carbs. The medtech giant envisions a future system that can recognize meals without that added step, and pegs Klue's technology as valuable in reaching that goal.
In a statement Tuesday, Alejandro Galindo, Medtronic Diabetes' president of advanced insulin management, said bringing the Klue technology into Medtronic "helps clear the path to a true hands-free closed loop system." The technology can also be incorporated into care for people on multiple daily injection therapy, Medtronic said.
It's the second noteworthy investment by Medtronic Diabetes in nutrition tech in about a year. Medtronic added nutrition data analytics startup Nutrino Health in late 2018 after a few years of working with the developer of algorithms for predicting glycemic responses to food.
The developments come as the diabetes unit gets situated under new leadership. Medtronic announced in October it was moving coronary and structural heart veteran Sean Salmon into the top spot in the diabetes group amid increasing competitive pressures in the insulin pump and continuous glucose monitor markets, particularly in the U.S.
Although Medtronic in 2016 was the first to market with a hybrid closed loop system, which uses CGM readings to automatically adjust basal insulin, the options available to people with diabetes have since expanded. For instance, FDA last week authorized the first interoperable automated glycemic controller, an algorithm created by Tandem Diabetes designed to connect similarly interoperable CGMs and insulin pumps. While only a few interoperable devices have been cleared through the new paradigm, FDA's ultimate vision is to increase the available technologies people with diabetes can mix and match to manage their condition.
Medtronic's PCL system has not yet entered a pivotal trial, said spokesperson Pamela Reese. More imminent is the launch of 780G, which Medtronic is calling an advanced hybrid closed loop system. According to Medtronic's presentation to investors at the American Diabetes Association conference in June, 670G users experience an average time in range of 72%; the goal for 780G is for that rate to exceed 80%, and the target for the PCL system is to reach at least 85%.
Klue founder and CEO Katelijn Vleugels and other Klue employees are joining Medtronic as part of the acquisition. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed and Medtronic said it should be neutral to fiscal year 2020 earnings per share.