News Feature | June 8, 2015

Medtronic Unveils Diabetes Partnerships With Samsung, Glooko

By Jof Enriquez,
Follow me on Twitter @jofenriq

Medtronic's MiniMed 530G device. Photo provided by Medtronic.

Bolstering its bid to become a more comprehensive diabetes solutions company, Medtronic has announced new partnerships with electronics giant Samsung and with diabetes data management provider Glooko. The deals are intended to provide diabetics and their care teams with secure, seamless, and timely access to integrated diabetes data.

Medtronic and Samsung have agreed to co-develop Android smartphone apps that pull data from Medtronic's insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices. The apps provide diabetics with convenient access to their blood glucose data through Samsung mobile phones and wearable devices. Such an integrated system not only provides convenience, it can help prevent dangerous hypoglycemic and hyperglycemic clinical events.

"By addressing more of the social and emotional aspects of living with diabetes and improving lifestyle fit, we believe that more people worldwide will be able to experience better diabetes control that today's advanced therapies provide," said Alejandro Galindo, vice president and general manager of the Intensive Insulin Management business at Medtronic, in a press release. "Medtronic aims to transform diabetes by providing world-class integrated care, enabled by leading technologies, big data, and informatics. Our partnership with Samsung is a key step in providing convenient and discreet access to diabetes data, so together we can provide people with diabetes greater freedom and better health.” 

The Android apps will be designed to work with Medtronic's MiniMed Connect device. The pocket-sized device — which just gained FDA approval — transmits data from Medtronic's MiniMed 530G and Revel insulin pumps to a corresponding smartphone app for the patient, and to a remote web display for providers. Medtronic claims that MiniMed allows patients to better manage their condition through enhanced connectivity with their healthcare teams. Namely, the device allows timely exchange of data, remote monitoring, and alerts through text messaging.

"Engagement from people with diabetes, loved ones and healthcare providers is key to living well with diabetes. With MiniMed Connect, the entire care team can have access to critical diabetes data to inform the decisions that help people have better outcomes," said Annette Brüls, VP and GM, Diabetes Services and Solutions at Medtronic, in a statement.

In a separate announcement, Medtronic unveiled a deal with analytics startup Glooko, which will integrate Medtronic's own CareLink platform with Glooko's secure, cloud and mobile-based diabetes management platform. Patients who use CareLink to view insulin and glucose data soon will be able to use Glooko's platform to see additional data — including food, medication, fitness, and biometrics – that is vital in day-to-day management of diabetes. Glooko's system also gives the data to healthcare providers so that interventions, such as adjusting insulin doses or identifying high-risk patients, can be made to prevent hospitalizations.

Medtronic participated in a $16.5 million Series B round of financing for Glooko, which has developed an FDA-cleared, HIPAA-compliant platform to aggregate device data from insulin pumps and CGMs, and to integrate personalized predictive algorithms. Glooko claims that its system syncs with over 30 blood glucose meters, pumps, CGMs, and fitness and activity trackers, then pulls data  about blood glucose, carbohydrates, insulin, blood pressure, diet, and weight. The company announced recently the addition of Dexcom's CGM and Insulet’s OmniPod systems to its host of integrated diabetes devices. Glooko will directly access data from those devices and the Apple HealthKit platform.

"Combining the additional data collected by Glooko with our CareLink data will enable further insights into how various health and fitness activities affect insulin therapy,"  Medtronic’s Brüls said in the announcement. "The Glooko partnership is part of our overall strategy to move towards a holistic diabetes management company and use our leading technologies, data and informatics to enable better therapy decision making and care for people with diabetes, to enable greater freedom and better health."

Medtronic announced its new Samsung and Glooko partnerships congruent with the American Diabetes Association 75th Scientific Sessions in Boston, which runs June 5 through June 9, 2015.

Related, Medtronic previously announced a partnership with IBM Watson Health to develop a new generation of personalized diabetes management solutions. In April, it also acquired Netherlands-based Diabeter, a diabetes clinic and research center that operates an innovative diabetes integrated care model.

"Taken together, these announcements signify that we're focused on transforming our diabetes group from a market-leading pump and sensor company into a holistic diabetes management company focused on making a real difference in outcomes and costs," said Gary Ellis, CFO of Medtronic, in a recent earnings call.