Reusable insulin pens that display last insulin dose and time and transmit data to partnering apps; follows launch in Sweden in March; additional European launches expected
This morning, MedWatch, a Danish news site, reported that Novo Nordisk has launched its connected pens NovoPen 6 and Echo Plus in Denmark. This Danish launch follows the initial connected pen launch in Sweden in March. Denmark is a natural next step for Novo Nordisk given that the company is based in Denmark and the Nordic kingdom has a strong track record for using digital health tools and diabetes technologies. Per the March announcement for the initial Swedish launch, Novo Nordisk intends to launch NovoPen 6 and Echo Plus in additional geographies in “Western Europe and many other countries.” As far as we know, Novo Nordisk has not yet submitted either connected pen to the FDA. When they do, as we understand it, this will be submitted to the Office of Health Technology 3, or OHT 3: Reproductive, Gastro-Renal, Urological, General Hospital Device and Human Factors. This is notable for many reasons, and particularly because this Office is run by the inimitable Dr. Courtney Lias who was promoted again recently and is particularly renowned for all her work on glucose measurement and insulin delivery over time there.
As a reminder, NovoPen 6 and Echo Plus are reusable (durable) insulin pens compatible with all Novo Nordisk insulin cartridges and differ only in their dose adjustment increments (1U vs 0.5U) and their maximum dose (60U vs 30U). The pens display the dose of the last injection and the time since the last injection on the end of the pen and can send dose data to partnering apps via NFC connectivity. Currently, the connected pens are integrated with Glooko’s data management platform and Roche’s mySugr (as of April); as we understand it, Novo Nordisk intends to eventually integrate with Abbott (as of February 2019), Dexcom (as of October 2018), and Medtronic (as of September 2019) though presumably since Medtronic purchased Companion Medical in August 2020, investment in this area internally would have increased substantially. Certainly, getting everyone on at least slightly more advanced pens makes a lot of sense – there’s some excellent learning coming at ATTD as we understand it. The connected pens for Novo Nordisk have been CE-Marked since 2018, with original expectations to launch in early 2019, but faced setbacks due to “rare instances” of a memory function issue during its initial Swedish launch in 2019. We are glad to see Novo Nordisk launch its connected pens in additional geographies and for patients to have more options for technologies suited to their particular needs and preferences – we hope to see more investment come to the area globally as this will make insulin delivery better, easier, and ultimately cheaper, givne better outcomes.
Close Concerns’ Questions
Where will Novo Nordisk launch NovoPen 6 and Echo Plus next? What are priority areas for further functionality for connected pens for Novo Nordisk? How will education on different options unfold?
What is the timeline for an FDA submission for the connected pens? When might we see NovoPen 6 and Echo Plus available in the US?
As the number of connected pens expand, what will we learn about user feature preferences? What will be necessary to drive user adoption?
What’s next in Novo Nordisk’s tech pipeline?
--by Katie Mahoney, Albert Cai, and Kelly Close