Opportunity for Start-Ups in Continuous Glucose Monitoring
This article was originally published in Start Up
It's the end of a dynasty in the traditional market for self blood glucose testing--the test strips and hand-held monitors that patients have been using as the mainstay of their diabetes management. The four major companies, once differentiated players in a high growth market, have cut R&D and marketing budgets in the face of increasing commoditization. But a new era in continuous glucose monitoring has begun, and that sector is poised to grow in coming years, according to "US Markets for Diabetes Management Products," a report published in May 2009 by the Medtech Insight division of Elsevier Business Intelligence.
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When GlucoLight was founded in 2003 to bring to market an optical platform for non-invasive glucose monitoring-specifically, optical coherence tomography-its founders decided to set themselves apart from the pack in two ways. First, they would focus on generating clinical data, and letting that data speak for itself. The company has conducted six clinical trials to date. Second, they would validate its platform in an emerging market that needs a technological solution but that is well-validated from the clinical perspective: glucose monitoring in the hospital critical care environment. This market also offers a faster time to market because there is no requirement to miniaturize the monitor for the ICU environment. Part of a group of articles that includes: "Where are They Now? Checking in on Three Glucose Monitoring Companies," "A Decade of Development of SMSI: Will it Yield Improved Accuracy in CGM?" and "Pelikan Swoops in on the Big Four."
The mission of ten-year old company Sensors for Medicine & Science is to develop a sensor that would obviate the need for patients with diabetes to extract blood or fluid samples for testing. Implanted under the skin, the SMSI sensor is continuously immersed in interstitial fluid containing glucose and provides frequent glucose readings. It thus has the potential to become the cornerstone of a new continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, one that works very differently than the early-generation systems on the market today. Part of a group of articles that includes: "Where are They Now? Checking in on Three Glucose Monitoring Companies," "Pelikan Swoops in on the Big Four" and "GlucoLight: Making Non-Invasive Glucose Monitoring Real."
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.")