Medtronic, Qualcomm Join Forces To Develop Continuous Glucose Monitors
By Jof Enriquez
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Medtronic and Qualcomm will collaborate on the development of future-generation continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems for diabetics, starting with a single-use CGM device that will utilize a new, smaller sensor that monitors blood glucose levels in real-time, helping general practitioners caring for patients with type 2 diabetes.
According to the World Health Organization, type 2 diabetes comprises the majority of people with diabetes around the world, and is largely caused by obesity and physical inactivity. Overall, the number of people with diabetes has increased from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, and now affects nearly 9 percent of adults globally. Diabetes can lead to multiple complications, including blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke, and lower limb amputation, and incurs huge healthcare costs in both developed and developing countries.
The rising prevalence of diabetes presents huge opportunities for Medtronic to try and keep up with global diabetes device market leaders Roche, Johnson & Johnson, Bayer, Abbott Laboratories, Novo Nordisk, and Eli Lilly, and CGM pioneer Dexcom.
To that end, Medtronic has sought multiple industry partners to go beyond devices and provide comprehensive, intelligent diabetes management to patients and providers. For instance, the company in January unveiled an alliance with IBM Watson to integrate machine learning algorithms into Medtronic’s glucose monitors and insulin pumps to provide patients with predictive glycemic data. Medtronic also has inked deals with Samsung and Glooko to build mobile diabetes apps for easy blood glucose monitoring, similar to Medtronic’s own “Connect App” for its MiniMed insulin pump/CGM combo device.
Under its new deal with Qualcomm Life, Medtronic will utilize Qualcomm’s designs for wireless, single-use, and small integrated modules to create more affordable, easier-to-use CGM systems. Focus areas will include a new sensor and smaller design that can provide near real-time and retrospective glucose data, as well as a communications component based on Qualcomm’s 2net Design platform for interconnected devices.
“We believe that glucose should be a vital sign of diabetes health. Professional CGM is an increasingly used diagnostic tool that empowers physicians and patients with meaningful glucose data to tackle glucose control. Our solutions go beyond delivering data and provide automated observations and clinical decision support to help create a personalized care plan,” said Laura Stoltenberg, VP and GM of Non-Intensive Diabetes Therapies at Medtronic, in a press release.
“Our vision is to transform diabetes care so people with diabetes can enjoy greater freedom and better health. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Qualcomm Life — a best-in-class leader in wireless technologies that is ahead of the curve in a rapidly changing connected world — to develop innovative and affordable CGM systems that will fundamentally change type 2 diabetes management.,” added Stoltenberg.
“Qualcomm Life’s connected health expertise along with our enabling 2net Connectivity Platform and 2net Design capabilities fit naturally with Medtronic’s diabetes leadership in bringing future generation CGM systems to market,” said Rick Valencia, president and GM, Qualcomm Life, Inc. “This collaboration furthers our commitment of enabling new connected care models that liberate vital data and unlock insights to deliver intelligent care wherever the patient may be.”