Abbott and Novo Nordisk partner to integrate connected insulin injection device data into FreeStyle Libre software “as soon as possible” – February 20, 2019

Data pulled into FreeStyle LibreLink app and LibreView data management platform; Abbott joins Roche, Glooko, and Dexcom as NN data partners; will Abbott build out its own decision support?

Abbott and Novo Nordisk announced today a non-exclusive partnership to integrate insulin dosing data from Novo Nordisk’s connected pens directly into the FreeStyle LibreLink app and LibreView diabetes management system. The companies aim to deploy the integration “as soon as possible,” presumably in Europe where Novo Nordisk’s connected, NFC-enabled, durable Novo Pen 6 and Echo Plus are already CE marked and now expected to launch in “early 2019,” beginning in Sweden (back from the previous goal of 1Q19).

Since the FreeStyle LibreLink app already pulls in FreeStyle Libre glucose data via NFC, we imagine that injection data from the current version of Novo Nordisk’s durable pens could be pulled in by the user in the same way – with a scan. This would mean that data would flow from the pen -> FreeStyle LibreLink -> LibreView; in other words, this functionality would benefit those who use the app in lieu of the reader. Otherwise, the durable pen would need to be downloaded in clinic using a Glooko Kiosk. Both companies said that product development is still in the early stages at the moment, so the mechanics of the integration are not yet available.

Novo Nordisk told us in October that it also intends to launch a reusable, Bluetooth pen attachment for disposable, pre-filled FlexTouch pens later in 2019, and we would be surprised if Bluetooth wasn’t on the roadmap for the durables as well. These devices would likely passively push insulin dose data straight to FreeStyle LibreLink or LibreView. Novo Nordisk now tells us it is not yet commenting on format for pre-filled connectivity, but is excited to share more details later this year; it’s also “not in active planning mode for a next generation durable device.”

Abbott is Novo Nordisk’s fourth publicly-announced smart pen data partner, joining Dexcom, Glooko, and Roche. Novo Nordisk is now Abbott’s second smart pen partner, after Bigfoot; Lilly has previously mentioned “FGM” (i.e., FreeStyle Libre) could be used in its connected systems, so we may hear more on that. See how the other partners plan to use the insulin data here (from our piece last October “Novo Nordisk to launch durable NFC-enabled pens and Bluetooth smart attachment for disposable pens in 2019; Partners with Dexcom, Roche, & Glooko.”)

While Abbott hasn’t divulged its intentions for how to use Novo Nordisk injection data, even the most basic application – overlaying insulin doses with CGM traces – should be very valuable. It’s possible that Abbott could even build out decision support that includes reminders, education, and dose titration, complementing its integration with Bigfoot’s Inject auto-titration system (launch expected in 2020). Abbott appears to be taking a more cautious approach to partnership than Dexcom (but more liberal than Medtronic), and Novo Nordisk adds to partnerships with Livongo (Libre Pro) and Bigfoot. This is the first time that Abbott will be pulling external data into its proprietary software, vs. the other collaborations in which it is supplying a sensor and support. It’s obvious that many people with diabetes are not dosing insulin optimally and so we see high potential here.

  • Novo Nordisk told us that while it can’t speak to timing or specific devices yet, the USA is “very much on [their] radar]” when it comes to connectivity.

  • Check out this cool MM&M feature on Novo Nordisk Corporate Vice President of Commercial Innovation, Dr. Anders Dyhr Toft, The piece profiles his background pre- and at Novo Nordisk, his take on non-exclusive partnerships, and more.


-- by Brian Levine, Adam Brown, and Kelly Close