Advances in Diabetes Management
The goals being touted in the treatment of diabetes are lofty, with the development of a functional and affordable artificial pancreas topping the list of ambitious undertakings in the industry. The pursuit of such a device has been a Holy Grail quest for some time now, and over the years the feasibility of developing a man-made mechanism to take the place of a faulty body organ has been treated with a share of optimism and skepticism. However, based on recent FDA approvals for multiple manufacturers, it appears the industry is closer than it has ever been to making this goal a reality.
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Getting a breakthrough medical device from the drawing board into mainstream use is the primary goal of every manufacturer, but a variety of factors influences how quickly a device reaches that goal - if at all. Right now, that process is playing out in the diabetes market, where continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) is moving closer to becoming a staple of effective diabetes treatment. The three companies that produce CGM devices - Medtronic, DexCom, and Abbott Laboratories - are very active in demonstrating the value of this technology, but other companies are stepping up in the market. Meanwhile, the focus on CGM is having an effect on other products, including insulin pumps.
Brief summaries of recent product and company developments in the device industry, including: developments in continuous glucose monitoring, new liability conerns for device companies, medtech acquisitions in 2007, and the 2008 IPO market.
Laying out a strategy is one thing; executing it is another. That's why, from time to time, START-UP revisits companies it has written about in the past to find out what went according to plan, and what didn't. As we revisit the field of glucose monitoring--a field with a high attrition rate, we'll see if we can draw out some lessons, both from the successes and from the failures, for those starting out today. (Introduction to three separate articles in the December 2007 issue: "Pelikan Technologies Swoops in on the Big Four"; "A Decade of Development for SMSI: Will It Yield Improved Accuracy in CGM?" and "GlucoLight Makes Non-invasive Glucose Monitoring Real.")