Abbott joins alliance to bring 'artificial pancreas' system to Europe


Abbott has joined forces with two other companies to bring an automated insulin delivery (AID) system to people with diabetes in Europe that will monitor blood glucose levels and deliver insulin automatically.

The three-way partnership brings Abbott's FreeStyle Libre 3 wearable sensor with a mobile app developed by Camdiab that communicates with an insulin pump developed by Ypsomed.

When used together, the three technologies form an artificial pancreas, responding to fluctuating blood glucose levels with delivery of an appropriate dose of insulin in real-time.

The three companies say the combined use of the three technologies will help lessen the burden of disease management for people with diabetes, and remove the guesswork from insulin dosing using conventional means.

"Poor glucose control leads to an increased risk of diabetes complications such as blindness, and heart and kidney disease," said Roman Hovorka, director of CamDiab, whose artificial intelligence-powered CamAPS FX app is already approved for use in the EU and UK for use in type 1 diabetes patients down to one year of age.

Once development of the AID is completed – expected by the end of the year – it will "lift the burden of managing a condition that is relentlessly unpredictable day and night," he added.

CamDiab and Ypsomed have been working together on a smartphone-based AID since March, bundling the CamAPS FX app with Ypsomed's mylife YpsoPump in an offering that has already started to roll out in some European countries.

Adding Abbott to the alliance closes the circle, moving close to an entirely automated system for people with diabetes.

Abbott's wearable continuous glucose monitor (CGM) is billed as the smallest and thinnest real-time system available, and last month became available via the NHS to eligible type 1 diabetes patients across the UK, as well as some insulin-dependent type 2 patients.

The system consists of a sensor, around the size of a £1 coin, that is worn on the upper arm and an app, which can be used by users to record their real-time glucose levels, history and trends.