Lilly doubles down on Dexcom tech for connected insulin devices


Two years ago, Eli Lilly started working with Dexcom to integrate continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) into its insulin delivery devices, and it has now firmed up the alliance.

Lilly has taken a non-exclusive license to deploy Dexcom’s CGM systems – which include app-based remote monitoring and alarm functions – in pen- and pump-based insulin systems that form the basis of the drugmaker’s personalised diabetes management system.

Lilly intends to use the real-time CGM tech alongside its pre-filled disposable insulin pens with a software system that can receive data from the pen via an “optional attachment”.

The pump-based platform will be a hybrid closed-loop  device that will combine an insulin pump, CGM and a dedicated handheld controller or smartphone application to automate dosing.

In 2017, Lilly started working with Dexcom on the partnership, which aims to combine devices, drugs and technology to improve the care of people with diabetes and also to help big pharma stay competitive with rivals like Novo Nordisk and Sanofi in an increasingly crowded and price-conscious insulin market.

Lilly has been under pressure in the US over its pricing for insulin products, and earlier this year launched a generic of its own Humalog brand of fast-acting insulin in an attempt to fend off criticism from lawmakers that it has been gouging patients.

Lilly said the new deal builds on its efforts to develop a comprehensive system that will be able to arm type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients and their healthcare providers with information  and individualised guidance to simplify the management of their disease.

“Even with all of the advances in diabetes technology, insulin therapy is still overwhelming and complex,” said Mike Mason, who heads Lilly’s connected care and insulins programme.

Bundling in Dexcom’s CGM tech will “improve health outcomes by delivering actionable insights in one connected system,” he added.

Lilly isn’t the first diabetes specialist to tap into Dexcom’s expertise. Last year, Novo Nordisk also signed a deal with the CGM specialist – as well as mobile app company Glooko and Roche’s diagnostics division – to develop connected insulin pens.

“CGMs provide people with diabetes and their healthcare team with important real-time data that can help alleviate the burden of diabetes management, including overall glucose level trends and information on time spent in target blood glucose range,” commented Rick Doubleday, Dexcom’s chief commercial officer.