Lilly partners with Rimidi on digital diabetes management tool

Kiev, Ukraine - May 21, 2014: Woman looking on health and fitness application such as Runtastic, FitBit, RunKeeper, Moves, Road Bike, Nike Running and others apps on a brand new black Apple iPhone 5S.

Pharmaceutical companies in the diabetes market are all investing in tech to help doctors and patients manage the condition.

That means companies such as Lilly, Novo Nordisk, Sanofi and AstraZeneca will soon be competing not just on their medicines, but also on the digital services they provide to clinicians and patients.

In diabetes, this means bringing together devices, software and drugs, and the pharma companies know they need to partner with specialist firms in these other two fields to build the best services, which are likely to hit the market over the next few years.

Lilly yesterday announced the next component in the ‘beyond the pill’ strategy it is constructing for diabetes, a new alliance with digital health company Rimidi.

The pharma company is already developing its own diabetes management ‘ecosystem’ and has chosen Rimidi to provide the diabetes management software platform that will underpin it.

The companies say they will strive to help up to 30 million Americans with diabetes who use insulin to manage their condition better, and also provide healthcare providers with a diabetes management platform which can integrate into their existing clinical workflow.

Atlanta-headquartered Rimidi has been around since 2011, and its Diabetes+Me platform spans patient self-management plus decision support for clinicians, as well as population-level disease management.

The platform runs on top of electronic medical records systems, and aims to provide a seamless workflow for clinicians at the point of care. Rimidi's system will be targeted at primary care providers, allowing them to use analytics and platforms, such as Lilly's integrated insulin management system, to improve care for specific patient populations.

Rimidi says the data management helps clinicians personalise care by providing a clear view of the individual characteristics and clinical histories of people with diabetes. Treatment can then be adjusted accordingly, with clinicians offering tailored medication, devices or lifestyle advice.

Lilly's integrated insulin management system combines a connected insulin pen with glucose-sensing technologies (e.g., glucose meter, CGM) and software applications to deliver personalised insulin dose recommendations. Clinicians can then analyse this data to help them monitor and advise the patient.

[caption id="attachment_35234" align="alignnone" width="180"] Marie Schiller[/caption]

"To make diabetes management easier, we need to enable and empower people with diabetes to use insulin more effectively," said Marie Schiller, vice president, Connected Care and site head, Cambridge Innovation Center.

"Our partnership with Rimidi is one step in making this vision a reality. Diabetes is a challenge for patients and can be tough for physicians to treat. Connected care may be able to reduce many of these burdens, allowing physicians to focus on the most important clinical decisions and improving outcomes."

Lilly's integrated insulin management system is comprised of cloud-based analytics, patient engagement solutions and connected devices. It is one of two platforms being developed by Lilly for the Connected Diabetes Ecosystem, the other is an automated insulin delivery system. This involves a hybrid closed-loop platform that uses connected devices to automate insulin dosing.

Both platforms within the Ecosystem are currently in development, and some clinical trials have started.

Companies are also under time pressure to launch their diabetes management offerings on to the market, but must also build robust, secure and user-friendly systems.

Lilly says it its platforms will be available to patients in two to three years, pending FDA approval or clearance.

The dynamics of the insulin market are also changing rapidly, with the launch a Lantus biosimilar this year, adding to downward pressure on prices from payers. This will make disease management services an essential part of each pharma company's offering.

Other notable ventures in the field include Sanofi's joint venture with Google, Onduo, Novo Nordisk and Glooko's app, and Roche's buyout of app developer mySugr.

It’s not just pharma companies driving this change – companies with digital diabetes devices are also positioning themselves to be key players.

Dexcom is one of a new breed of companies developing continuous glucose monitoring (GCM) devices, which are set to play a major role in type 1 diabetes management.

Dexcom has forged alliances with numerous companies in the field, including Rimidi and Lilly, each company ensuring their devices, software and data systems are compatible, a move seen as essential in order to gain traction at this early stage of the digital diabetes market.