As competition hots up, J&J exits insulin pump market

Johnson & Johnson’s Animas, its division focused on insulin pump development, has ceased operating in the US and Canada.

The decision is a result of a rapid drop in Animas sales, and growing competition from next-generation insulin pumps and devices. The market is evolving towards so-called ‘artificial pancreas’ (AP), which will combine insulin pumps with AI and continuous glucose monitors to provide automatic delivery of insulin in response to high blood glucose.

Acquired by J&J in 2005, Animas marketed both the Vibe and OneTouch Ping insulin pumps in North America. The former was created with the help of Dexcom and featured the ability to view historical and latest glucose readings on the pump screen, whilst the latter’s main selling point was its wireless communication with a paired glucose meter remote.

Animas will now cease selling both products and leave the insulin pump market entirely in the region. It will, however, continue to sell its products to providers elsewhere in the world.

The company currently has a global workforce of around 410 employees and its decision will affect over half of these, according to FierceBiotech.

As outlined in a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) notice, 297 employees at Animas’ Chesterbrook and West Chester sites will likely lose their jobs.

In order to reduce any impact on customers – around 90,000 patients use Animas pumps and products – Animas has struck a deal with Medtronic to offer patients a transition to a Medtronic pump.

Valerie Asbury, general manager of Animas

“We recognise that patients living with diabetes rely on our products to provide critical care, and we want to reassure them that we will be with them every step of the way throughout this transition,” said Valerie Asbury, general manager of Animas Corporation. “Our number one priority is ensuring patients have a seamless experience as they transition to Medtronic. For over 30 years, Medtronic has been a global leader in the treatment of those living with diabetes, and we are confident they will provide outstanding support to our patients and their healthcare teams.”

J&J is understood to be also weighing up the viability of its  blood glucose monitoring business, LifeScan Inc, which is facing similar pressures.

The closure not only affects J&J, but also DexCom, whose blood glucose monitors are used in the devices.  However the news is good for rivals Medtronic, Insulet and Tandem, whose shares all rose on the announcement.

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