Interview Synopsis

Insulin delivery systems – product analysis

  • Public Equity
  • Healthcare
  • North America

Medical device company Medtronic has been in the spotlight since the recall of its MiniMed insulin pumps in 2021 and a damaging Class 1 rating from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) earlier this year. But according to a former executive at Becton Dickinson & Co, both incidents are unlikely to tarnish Medtronic’s reputation “beyond recovery”, with problems for the company lying elsewhere.

Closed-loop insulin pump systems “not far away”

In an Interview with Third Bridge Forum, the specialist said the diabetes and insulin delivery market faces a number of challenges. We were told USD 30-40 insulin vials are now more prevalent, and that we are witnessing a return of older drugs and delivery systems to manage rising costs. 

On Medtronic’s recent problems, the specialist said while these episodes have damaged the company’s reputation, it continues to be “appreciated” by both patients and clinicians for its innovation. Rather more pressing for Medtronic are challenges related to its Guardian CGM sensor, which in the specialist’s opinion is inferior to Dexcom’s. 

We also heard that the “form factor” for durable pumps is “not suitable” for patients with type 2 diabetes because they are too complex and cumbersome. The unsuitability of durable pumps has created an opportunity for patch pumps – where the pump is attached to the surface of the skin – according to the specialist. We were told Isulet’s Omnipod Dash system is the “dominant” patch pump in the US market, and that the company could expect to capture 50% of the patch pump market. 

The specialist said the democratisation of continuous glucose monitoring could make open-looped pumps “a thing of the past”, with hybrid-looped pumps now more affordable, accurate and safer for patients. We were told fully closed-loop pump systems are “not far away”, but that the cost and time needed to develop them is “huge” – one reason why few have been cleared for market. 

Although the science behind closed-loop pump systems is not far away, the specialist told us the FDA still has reservations, particularly on the AI-adjusting algorithms closed-loop pump systems use. There are still issues for manufacturers and the FDA to negotiate on, but in the specialist’s opinion, “pressure is mounting” on the agency to approve the devices. 

To access all the human insights in Third Bridge Forum’s Insulin Delivery Systems – Medtronic, Becton Dickinson, Insulet, Tandem – Product Analysis & Competitive Landscape Interview, click here to view the full transcript.

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The information used in compiling this document has been obtained by Third Bridge from experts participating in Forum Interviews. Third Bridge does not warrant the accuracy of the information and has not independently verified it. It should not be regarded as a trade recommendation or form the basis of any investment decision.

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