This is just the beginning
From the beginning we have stated that the growth we are seeing in the CGM market is just the tip of the iceberg. That usage among patients with diabetes is what can be seen above the water line. All along we have stated that there is a much larger market which will drive CGM adoption among non-diabetics will transform this market. Yesterday we moved one step closer to seeing this happen as Abbott has teamed up with Atlanta based SuperSapiens to launch the Libre Sense.
For the moment this system which has received CE approval in Europe is designed for elite athletes but just as usage in the diabetes market is the tip of the iceberg so too is usage among elite athletes just the beginning of expansion beyond patients with diabetes. It won’t be long before CGM usage becomes not just an invaluable tool to manage diabetes but a valuable tool to help people lose weight, perhaps (excuse the play on words) the biggest market of all.
Considering the explosion of sensor technology it’s just a matter of time before what was a just a glucose sensor to measure other biomarkers. This week Apple noted that their new Apple Watch will measure blood oxygen levels this is in addition to an ECG app. Also this week the FitBit Sense smartwatch received FDA clearance to do the same thing.
Getting back to Apple it should surprise no one that the company has teamed up with Anthem, along with the University of California, Irvine, and software company CareEvolution, to launch a two-year, 900-participant study investigating how digital tools can help patients control their asthma and reduce hospital utilization.
Now before we go any further let’s make two things very clear we are not experts in engineering nor intellectual property law, two critical elements when it comes to analyzing the CGM market. Thankfully we have great experts in both areas who tell us that yes it is technically possible for a glucose sensor to measure other biomarkers making it so the patient does not have to wear multiple sensors to get the data they need. The real issue just might come down not to whether this is technically possible but who owns what IP.
Given the size of the market and the players involved these IP issues will be solved in one of three ways, nasty court fights, strategic alliances or acquisitions. This is after all about money.
This explosion in sensor technology will also impact another hot market, patient coaching. The new system from Abbott and Supersapiens is a good example as the sensor here as long as its accurate is not the real way cool whiz bang. What’s way cool whiz bang is what Supersapiens does with the data, how they transform data into improved performance. (https://www.supersapiens.com/en-US/)
Well who’s to say that a patient will need coaching when they have all these way cool whiz bang apps and sensors. Hence the reason we have always been such a huge fan of Tyler, Tyler does for insulin using patients what Supersapiens does for elite athletes. We haven’t cared all that much which CGM, connected pen or insulin the patient used. The role of the devices is to deliver accurate information, be reliable and hopefully patient friendly. These toys can, should be interchangeable and likely will be given the move toward interoperability. What matters is not the data itself what matters is transforming this data into actionable information for the patient so they can better manage their diabetes. Getting the data is the easy part.
Whether it improving the performance of elite athletes, helping patients more effectively manage their diabetes or helping the average person lose a few pounds one thing is certain CGM usage will do nothing but grow. This is not just great news for Abbott and Dexcom the two leaders in the category but all the Dexcom wannabes who if they were smart would lose their fascination with competing in diabetes and join companies like Supersapiens in finding innovative and beneficial ways to use this data.
Folks this isn’t, never has been and never will be about the toys in the toy chest. This is, always has been and always will be about transforming data into actionable information that the user understands.
To all my fellow tribe members Happy New Year may this new year bring us all good health, happiness and prosperity.