New Abbott, Bigfoot Collaboration a Step Forward for the Artificial Pancreas?

Mary Caffrey

Mary Caffrey is the Associate Editorial Director of AJMC/Managed Care for MJH Life Sciences. Her editorial responsibilities include Evidence-Based Oncology, Chief Healthcare Executive, and Managed Healthcare Executive.

The announcement continues a trend of technology companies, app makers, and glucose monitor makers pairing up to create integrated care systems.

Abbott and Bigfoot Biomedical today announced plans to work together on diabetes management systems that combine Abbott’s Freestyle Libre glucose sensing technology and Bigfoot’s insulin delivery systems. The announcement continues a trend of technology companies, app makers, and glucose monitor makers pairing up to create integrated care systems.

The collaboration may bring those diabetes closer to the "artificial pancreas." Every person with type 1 diabetes (T1D), and more and more with type 2 diabetes (T2D) must have daily insulin injections to control blood glucose levels; in a statement, Bigfoot put this number at about 6 million in the United States.

Under the agreement:

  • Abbott will supply glucose management sensors for Bigfoot’s insulin systems in the United States, as the exclusive sensors.
  • Bigfoot will develop and commercialize multiple systems using Abbott’s Freestyle Libre sensors, including those for automatic insulin titration and delivery.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The story of Bigfoot Biomedical is one of the most compelling in the diabetes technology sector: When Wall Street trader Bryan Mazlish’s 5-year-old son was diagnosed with T1D, he used his knowledge of how algorithms could replace human decision making to hack his way to a better glucose management solution with existing technology. Mazlish’s wife, a physician also living with T1D, offered ideas and feedback.

From there, Mazlish set about to commercialize technology that would free people with T1D from finger sticks and parents of T1D children from waking up multiple times a night for glucose checks. Bigfoot has both injection and infusion pump-based insulin delivery systems in development.

Abbott, meanwhile, has pioneered technology that records up to 14 days’ worth of data without finger sticks or patient interaction, which is invaluable for physicians seeking a real look at glucose levels without relying on patients to record blood glucose readings or properly operate a device.

A version of this story originally appears in the American Journal of Managed Care.