Big Names Partner to Further Diabetes Innovation

In addition to the multitude of devices projected for the diabetes space, big names in tech and pharma are joining forces to advance digital solutions for diabetes management through initiatives that combine their various areas of expertise.

Sanofi and Verily Form Onduo

Sanofi and Verily’s (formerly Google LifeSciences) newly formed joint venture, Onduo, plans to deliver devices and software that will help patients more easily and effectively manage type 2 diabetes. The company will expand to patients with type 1 diabetes and eventually, those at risk of developing the disease.

Tapping into the key strengths that each bring to the table should make for a powerful solution. As FiercePharma reports, Verily has expertise in consumer software, analytics, low-power chip design and miniaturized electronics, while Sanofi brings diabetes treatment innovations, clinical development and disease management.

A large component of the Sanofi/Verily deal offers “the potential for miniaturized electronics that collect patient data and information that would incorporate the patient perspective. Stefan Oelrich, senior VP and head of the global diabetes franchise for Sanofi said, “Patient insights and unmet needs will be vital inputs in defining functionality and features of the solution.”

A continued effort to integrate the “patient perspective” into innovations and solutions for not just diabetes but all chronic diseases will make a more powerful impact on the health outcomes of the populations intended to benefit from the technology.

Leveraging Diabetes Care through Computing Power

Two more well-known names—Medtronic and IBM Watson Health—are combining their collective expertise in diabetes and computing to develop a new smartphone app. The Sugar.IQ mobile app is designed to identify behaviors that influence a person’s glucose levels and to then send alerts to that individual as needed. A person can type in a meal that they plan to enjoy or an activity scheduled over the weekend and the app will respond with a warning if that behavior can result in a drop in blood sugar.

According to Stat News, the app “draws on reams of anonymized data from diabetics — plus data that the patient transmits or inputs” to provide this personalized information in real-time that will potentially help people to better manage their diabetes.

IBM is using its computing power to help with other efforts as well. Last year the company and Novo Nordisk partnered to utilize machine learning and big data to support diabetes care.

IBM is not the only big name player with a presence in the diabetes market—last year Cox Enterprises of the well-known cable provider Cox Communications, made a major investment in diabetes digital health startup, Rimidi, helping the company expand to new channels.

The move behind these big names combining their areas of expertise to provide cutting-edge solutions to prominent health issues, like diabetes, makes sense. The focus on diabetes is needed as a highly complex and cumbersome disease that affects millions of lives.  The market is filled with opportunity due to the growing number of Americans with diabetes or at risk in developing diabetes.

Much of the technology still requires patients to take an active role in the management of their diabetes, for example, manually inputting food consumed so that the devices or apps can provide accurate data and information. Richer data and devices that allow for a more personalized and tailored approach to diabetes management will foster improved overall health outcomes and adherence for patients..  With both large companies and smaller startups tackling diabetes, diverse players in this space will ensure a multifaceted approach in solving the many complexities of this chronic disease.