Typezero takeover puts Dexcom closer to an artificial pancreas

Dexcom can capitalise on its new algorithm technology, but is now enmeshed in a tangled web of partnerships.

As the various alliances and collaborations between diabetes device makers become ever more bewildering it is refreshing to see an outright acquisition. The terms of Dexcom’s purchase of the algorithm developer Typezero Technologies are undisclosed, but the deal will have ramifications for many of the groups working on sensors, insulin pumps and software in this sector. 

For a start it might allow Dexcom to steal a march on its closest rival in the continuous glucose monitor (CGM) sensor space: Abbott. And secondly it means that Dexcom now controls two of the three components of an artificial pancreas, putting the group a step closer to direct competition with Medtronic. 

Typezero’s flagship technology is the inControl algorithm, which evaluates a patient’s blood sugar levels to calibrate an appropriate insulin dose and automatically deliver the drug. Dexcom believes that it will be able to launch an automated insulin delivery system using inControl next year. 

It is not clear which insulin pump this system might use; Dexcom has partnerships with the pump makers Tandem Diabetes Care and Insulet. As for the sensor, Dexcom’s G6 is the only CGM specifically approved by the FDA as interoperable, possibly speeding the development of an integrated system (Dexcom clearance blazes a trail, March 28, 2018).

Deal or no deal

But Dexcom is not the only company to have partners. Typezero supplies the algorithm for Tandem’s Control.IQ artificial pancreas-type platform, which uses Dexcom’s G6. This is expected to be launched in the US in the middle of next year. Typezero is also working with Senseonics, maker of the implanted CGM Eversense, which is in turn licensed to Roche (Senseonics hooks Roche for implantable glucose monitor, May 26, 2016). 

Dexcom will have to decide whether to continue or cancel these deals. The competitive menace that Senseonics poses to Dexcom might cause it to call this particular partnership off – Eversense was approved in the US in June. But the company might well seek to license the inControl algorithm to other, less immediately threatening, groups.

Incorporating the Typezero tech might permit Dexcom to push ahead of Abbott. The G6’s US approval came six months after that of Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre, which knocked Dexcom badly. Abbott does not have an artificial pancreas programme of its own.

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