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It’s Medtronic vs. Abbott in Battle to Disrupt Diabetes Care

The two companies have been fighting to disrupt the diabetes space in recent years, and Medtronic just threw the latest punch.

Don’t tell anyone, but it sure does look like Medtronic and Abbott Laboratories have been in a series of one-upping each other in the diabetes space recently.

Dublin-based Medtronic fired the latest volley in the space by revealing it received FDA approval for a new arm indication for the Guardian Sensor 3. The continuous glucose monitoring sensor controls automated insulin delivery via Medtronic’s hybrid closed-loop system, the MiniMed 670G system.

"The performance of the Guardian Sensor 3 has been extremely impressive, and this new arm indication now offers added convenience and flexibility for my patients who like to have as many options as possible to address their personal needs," said Bruce Bode, a specialist with Atlanta Diabetes Associates and a clinical associate professor at Emory University, in a release. "These continued enhancements demonstrate a keen focus on the part of Medtronic to deliver a positive patient experience in addition to optimizing outcomes through technological advancements—that can prove to be just as meaningful for quality of life."

The system features the company's SmartGuard algorithm, which helps to increase time in range by automatically adjusting basal insulin delivery every five minutes based on real-time data delivered by the Guardian Sensor 3. The sensor incorporates diagnostic technology that continuously monitors sensor health to ensure the consistent and reliable performance that is critical for powering a hybrid closed-loop system.

Since 2016, both Medtronic and Abbott have received approvals for technology that has reinvigorated the diabetes treatment and monitoring space.

In September 2016, Medtronic obtained a nod from FDA for the MiniMed 670G System, dubbed the artificial pancreas.

Around the same time, Abbott revealed it had received approval of its Freestyle Libre Pro Glucose Monitoring System.

In late September 2017, Abbott fired back with one of the most significant FDA approvals in recent history, the Freestyle Libre Flash.

The approval is largely considered a major win for patients with diabetes because it eliminates routine finger sticks, which have been the standard of glucose testing for more than 40 years.

The blood glucose monitoring replacement indication means people with diabetes and their doctors can now make treatment decisions based on information from the Freestyle Libre System, without the need for routine finger sticks.

Medtronic hasn’t been resting on its laurels in the diabetes space. Late last week, the company launched the latest version of its MiniMed Mio insulin infusion set in Canada, Hong Kong, and parts of Europe. The MiniMed Mio Advance is an update of the MiniMed Mio, introduced in 2010 and designed to deliver insulin from an insulin pump to the body. The Mio Advance should make changing infusion sets quicker and easier, according to the company.

Omar Ishrak, Medtronic’s president and CEO noted that some of the recent approvals in the space have led to the company’s growth in the diabetes space.

“Unexpected diabetes returned to double-digit growth this quarter driven by the continued adoption of our MiniMed 670G hybrid closed-loop system in the U.S.,” Ishrak said during Medtronic’s third-quarter earnings call. “We now have over 20,000 patients of our 670G system and we continue to receive highly positive feedback from the patients from this ground-breaking technology with real-world results consistent with those reported in our pivotal study.”

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