Abbott Laboratories is expanding its mobile healthcare reach with a program designed to better treat diabetes.
Abbott is partnering with Bigfoot Biomedical Inc., a Milpitas, Calif., mobile medical technology startup founded by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, the form of the disease that afflicts children and young adults. Under the new arrangement, Abbott and Bigfoot will develop and market diabetes management systems that combine Abbott’s glucose sensing technology with Bigfoot’s insulin delivery and mobile monitoring technology.
Abbott will supply glucose measurement sensors for all of Bigfoot’s insulin delivery systems in the U.S. as the exclusive sensors for those systems while Bigfoot will develop multiple systems using Abbott’s sensor technology. That includes systems designed to perform “auto-titration” for Bigfoot’s connected insulin injection devices, as well as automated insulin delivery using Bigfoot’s insulin infusion platform, according to both companies.
In respiratory care, auto-titrating is done by continuous positive airway pressure machines set at a variable pressure based on the patient’s needs, says The Advanced Healthcare Network.
Bigfoot will utilize the combined technology to develop what it says are personalized, user-friendly systems intended to improve insulin delivery without the need for the finger stick calibration of a glucose sensor, the company says.
Bigfoot’s technology uses glucose data from a sensor built into the insulin pump to determine how much insulin a patient may need. A Bigfoot Google or Apple app used by the patient also tells the user how much insulin to take or relays the same data to a healthcare provider serving as the pump administrator to deliver the dose.
With the Abbott technology, the Bigfoot system also could use readings from Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre glucose measurement sensors to administer insulin from a pump on an automated and continual basis. “Diabetes is increasing at record rates globally and there is a significant demand for tools that are intuitive and easy to use to help people take control of this complicated, challenging condition, but innovation in this area has been slow,” says Abbott senior vice president, diabetes care Jared Watkin.
Bigfoot has both injection and infusion pump-based insulin delivery systems in development. “These systems use Internet of Things connectivity, smartphone technology and machine learning automation to adjust insulin delivery or ‘dosing’ with the intent to keep glucose levels in an optimal range,” says Bigfoot CEO Jeffrey Brewer.
“Bigfoot anticipates initiating a trial incorporating Abbott’s technology in 2018 at clinical research sites across the U.S.,” Brewer says. “A no-calibration glucose sensor is the final piece of the puzzle needed to enable consumer-friendly and accessible integrated insulin delivery systems.”
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. In the U.S. Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre technology is still pending approval by the Food and Drug Administration. Overseas the glucose measurement sensor technology is being used by more than 300,000 patients in 35 countries, Abbott says.
Bigfoot was founded in 2014. In July 2017 Bigfoot collaborated on its first clinical trial with Stanford University School of Medicine in coordination with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford and Stanford Children’s Health in Palo Alto, the William Sansum Diabetes Center in Santa Barbara and the Barbara Davis Center for Diabetes at the University Of Colorado School Of Medicine in Aurora, Colo.