Diabetes management: the Next Big Health Tech Thing?

Big Data? Passé. Health IT security and hacking? At a peak. So what’s the Next Big Thing? If you’re tracking where the money’s going, it’s diabetes management. This week saw the joint venture Onduo formed by the controversial [TTA 6 Apr] life sciences-focused Verily (Google Alphabet) and Big Pharma Sanofi with a nest egg of $500 million. Onduo will be combining devices with services to help Type II diabetics. Based upon CEO Joshua Riff’s statements to MedCityNews, their platforms are yet to be developed, but “will be a digital platform that will involve software, hardware, and very importantly service” to change patient behaviors. Partnerships with Sutter Health in Northern California and Allegheny Health Network of western Pennsylvania will test their approaches in a clinical setting. Xconomy, Reuters

Verily’s other diabetes project include the £540 million bioelectronics partnership announced in August with UK-based GSK in Galvani Electronics [TTA 3 Aug] with a focus on inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including Type II diabetes. With Dexcom, Verily is also building an inexpensive, smaller next-gen continuous glucose monitoring sensor; Mr Riff was coy about whether this sensor would be used but allowed that sensors might be used in Onduo’s approaches. Verily is also developing the well-known glucose-reading contact lens with Novartis [TTA 1 Sep 15].

Also this week, Glooko and Sweden’s Diasend announced their merger to create an international system that includes a mobile/web platform that merges data from over 100 devices (combined) plus fitness trackers and a back end that aggregates data from multiple systems. Diasend also has an EU user base and specialized knowledge of European reimbursement and clinical settings. Their kitty of $8 million in equity financing doesn’t sound like much but Glooko already has over $28 million in funding. MedCityNews, Mobihealthnews

Automated insulin delivery is hot, as Insulet tests its hybrid closed loop automated glucose control system. Like Medtronic’s, it does require patient input. Similar entries are being developed by Bigfoot Medical and Beta Bionics. There’s also WellDoc (the mobile side with BlueStar) and J&J’s Lifescan (the device side) in Type II diabetes. Earlier this year they announced their collaboration, facilitated by WellDoc receiving in March $29.5 million Series B financing from J&J Innovations and Samsung Ventures. Release

Your Editor is sure there are missed investments and more to come, but bets that diabetes and behavior management are already the Next Big Thing. To come? Making them pay.

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