Medtronic has partnered with its subsidiary company Qualcomm Life to develop affordable continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) for people with type 2 diabetes.
Medtronic accounts for around half of the CGM market worldwide – a technology that is normally used by people with type 1 diabetes, but is becoming more available to those with type 2 diabetes.
This new collaboration is expected to lead to a low-cost disposable glucose monitor. There are roughly 400 million with type 2 diabetes globally, and these devices would be targeted at the vast majority who don’t have access to self-monitoring technology for blood glucose levels.
People with type 2 diabetes can find it hard to finance self-monitoring of blood glucose levels. In the UK, insulin-treated patients receive testing supplies for free, but this isn’t the case for all type 2 diabetes patients. Not keeping good control of blood sugar levels can increase the risk of long-term diabetes-related complications.
Laura Stoltenberg, vice president of non-intensive diabetes therapies at Medtronic, said: “We believe that glucose should be a vital sign of diabetes health. Our vision is to transform diabetes care so people with diabetes can enjoy greater freedom and better health.”
Stoltenberg added that the goal of the collaboration is “to develop innovative and affordable CGM systems that will fundamentally change type 2 diabetes management”.
Medtronic is a market leader in the CGM field, while San Diego-based Qualcomm Life will contribute communications technology expertise to the project.
“What we are doing with Medtronic is helping them develop the electronics and the communications technology that will go in the actual sensor itself,” said Rick Valencia, head of Qualcomm Life.
Medtronic is also aiming to use its CGMs to help doctors and patients better manage type 2 diabetes. “Our solutions go beyond delivering data and provide automated observations and clinical decision support to help create a personalised care plan,” said Stoltenberg.
These devices, once created, will require US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval before coming to market, and it could therefore be a few years before this happens.
The other major CGM market leader, DexCom, announced last year that it was teaming up with Google to develop new products that are smaller and less expensive than existing technologies.

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