Medtronic’s diabetes division saw sales slide about 9% in the year’s first quarter, as patients largely stayed at home or participated in virtual medical visits due to COVID-19. The slow sales of insulin pumps might be about to reverse, with the latest generation of their MiniMed pump coming out of its latest study with flying colors.
The MiniMed 780G closed-loop system is used for treating Type I diabetes and has met both the safety and glycemic endpoints of its most recent study, the results of which were presented at the virtual annual conference of the American Diabetes Association. The 90-day at-home trial included subjects ranging in age from 14 to 75, though the device will be marketed as safe for use for everyone aged 7-80.
The success of the trial compounded with a $337 million funding agreement from Blackstone Life Sciences will put Medtronic’s Q1 problems far behind them. The agreement stipulates that Blackstone Life Sciences will provide Medtronic with funding for four R&D programs within their diabetes division. Funding will be spread out over the next several years and will facilitate improvements in diabetes pumps and continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) pipeline devices.
“This investment is important for people living with diabetes, as we expect it will expand our offering of future insulin delivery and sensor innovations that have the potential to improve patients’ management of their diabetes,” said Sean Salmon, president of Medtronic’s Diabetes Group. He went on to describe how the company had significantly increased its investment in diabetes R&D over the past 12 months, in projects such as the MiniMed 780G.
Funding from Blackstone will help Medtronic address the unmet needs of people with diabetes, providing a higher quality of life and more flexibility for Type I diabetes patients, who number 22 million worldwide and approximately 1.5 million in the U.S. Assuming the program is successful, Medtronic will pay royalties to Blackstone Life Sciences in the low- to mid-single digit range of percentage of sales, although the precise terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Medtronic hopes to develop more technology like the MiniMed 780G, which automates basal insulin delivery as well as correction boluses in 5-minute intervals, to enable patients to meet their insulin targets while being able to enjoy their daily activities.