Asante and Tidepool announce data downloading partnership for Snap insulin pump – January 28, 2014

Executive Highlights

  • Yesterday, Asante announced an insulin pump data downloading partnership with Tidepool. Under the agreement, the Asante Snap insulin pump will be the first device downloadable to Tidepool’s free, device agnostic, open-source diabetes data platform. Tidepool has gained a great deal of attention in the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) and we view the partnership as a big win for Asante.
  • Development will begin immediately, and we assume launch could happen sometime in 2014 (though the regulatory process is the biggest wildcard at this point).

Yesterday morning, Asante announced an exciting insulin pump data downloading partnership with Silicon Valley-based non-profit Tidepool. Under the agreement, the Snap insulin pump will be the first device downloadable to Tidepool’s free, device agnostic, open-source diabetes data platform. Under this partnership, development will begin immediately, and once the platform is available (we assume sometime in 2014, pending positive developments on the regulatory front), current Snap clinics (~200) will be eligible to download Snap pump data to the Tidepool platform. Eventually, Asante plans to roll out a cable for people with diabetes to download at home. As background, Tidepool is currently focused on its apps blip (a “hub for diabetes data”) and Nutshell (an aid to mealtime insulin dosing), though third party developers will be able to build their own apps over time. Tidepool is also aggressively working to establish a master file with the FDA and will be developing connectivity between the Tidepool platform and other diabetes devices in 2014. Currently, the platform reads data from Medtronic and Animas pumps as well as Dexcom and Medtronic CGMs. Tidepool is working on partnerships with other diabetes device companies, though timing and details are to be determined.

Asante has been very proactive about collaborating on the data downloading/software front – this Tidepool partnership supplements existing agreements with Diasend and Glooko (announced in June 2013). Though the Snap did not initially launch with a downloadable controller, all controllers made as of mid-December are now download compatible. Asante also has an easy upgrade program where patients can upgrade to new technology for $99. In a positive move for patients, this first upgrade opportunity will be free for all current Snap users interested in obtaining a downloadable controller. As we understand it, the Diasend platform is set to launch this week, while the Glooko partnership is a goal for this year. Originally, the goal was to launch both platforms in 4Q13, so the timing has been pushed back a bit.

We salute Asante for breaking out of the traditional model of siloed device software – the move to use universal platforms is one that patients, providers, and the healthcare system stand to benefit from. This partnership is also a vote of confidence in Tidepool, who has come on the radar screen very recently as a patient-focused non-profit seeking to change the way diabetes device data is collected and used. We first saw a demo of Tidepool’s blip app at DTM 2013 – as a reminder, blip provides “intuitive, interactive visualizations of data” from multiple sources, including insulin pumps, CGMs, and activity monitors. The web-based app facilitates ongoing conversations between health care providers and their diabetes patients using a secure built-in messaging system. Tidepool’s three-month pilot study of blip will take place at UCSF under the direction of Dr. Saleh Adi – recruitment is expected to start in the first quarter of this year. We were encouraged to hear from Tidepool’s driven type 1 dad Mr. Howard Look that all Tidepool software will be free for patients to use. 

  • Tidepool CEO Mr. Howard Look emphasized in the press release Tidepool’s goal of bringing all diabetes data together in one place, regardless of the device manufacturer. True to its Silicon Valley roots, the press release details where to find the open source code for the Tidepool Platform: While open source software development is almost taken for granted in the technology world, it’s basically unheard of in diabetes.
  • Asante is now the first diabetes device company to make its data protocols open and available via the Tidepool Platform. Tidepool’s platform is poised to shake up the traditional model of proprietary software and data, and we look forward to seeing if other companies jump on board. We wonder how companies will assess the pros and cons of partnering with Tidepool – broadly speaking, we think it’s a no-brainer since it makes assessment of diabetes management easier.
  • For more information on Tidepool, see our coverage of blip at DTM 2013 and our diaTribe conference pearls on November’s DiabetesMine innovation summit – it’s exciting to watch Tidepool move ahead quickly on a device-agnostic, patient-friendly hub for collecting and analyzing diabetes data.
  • For more information on Asante’s Snap with prefilled insulin cartridges, see our coverage of the Glooko and Diasend partnerships, our diaTribe test drive, and our coverage of the pump’s launch. We continue to think the pump arena is very competitive and that many payers may be moving toward narrower coverage; the movement toward competitive bidding is clearly not a positive for the companies in the field, and we think that per patient profitability will probably decline in 2014 (though it’s hard to say with any degree of certainty to what extent). That said, there is a lot of room for gains in patients on pump therapy, with most estimates pegging less than 30% of type 1s on pumps in the US; we also think pump therapy will continue to become more popular with the continued momentum towards automating insulin delivery.

Close Concerns Questions

Q: What diabetes device companies will be next to announce partnerships with Tidepool?

Q: In the process of choosing a diabetes device, where does data downloading rank for the average patient? Could integration with Tidepool encourage patients or providers to choose one diabetes device over another?


--by Adam Brown and Kelly Close