Medtronic Tackles Diabetes With New Partnership
Medtronic announced on Wednesday a multi-year collaboration with Qualcomm Inc. subsidiary Qualcomm Life, a specialist in wireless technology development for chronic disease treatments.
Together, the med-tech companies plan to develop next-generation continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) systems. Medtronic already offers such devices, but the Fridley-based company believes its partnership with Qualcomm Life could lead to a number of technological advancements.
Of the 400 million people worldwide with Type 2 diabetes, many patients and practitioners use CGM systems to monitor their glucose level. For non-diabetics, the body regulates glucose levels and ensures the right amount of insulin is released at the appropriate time. CGM systems intend to mimic that system by measuring glucose levels in real-time via a tiny electrode inserted under the skin and connected to a transmitter.
Medtronic and San Diego-based Qualcomm Life expect its under-development device will be smaller than the beeper-sized CGM systems used today, as well as cheaper and easier to use. With these improvements—along with an upgraded glucose sensor—both companies believe general practitioners around the globe will increase the utilization of CGM systems.
“Our vision is to transform diabetes care so people with diabetes can enjoy greater freedom and better health,” said Laura Stoltenberg, vice president and general manager of Medtronic’s non-intensive diabetes therapies division. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with Qualcomm Life … to develop innovative and affordable CGM systems that will fundamentally change type 2 diabetes management.”
The partnership will leverage both Medtronic’s market leadership in the field of diabetes care as well as Qualcomm Life’s expertise in developing connected health products.
Medtronic has worked in concert with major technology companies in the past to develop diabetic care products. Just this January, the company unveiled the details behind an app it is creating with IBM and its Watson artificial intelligence program. In the app’s early stages, it has been proven able to predict hypoglycemia, or extreme low blood sugar, up to three hours in advance.
Once completed, Medtronic hopes to make an impact on the $240 billion diabetes care market, which is expected to grow by another 200 million cases by 2040.