There are times in this wacky world of ours when you sit back scratch your head and wonder what the heck are these people thinking. Well more than six years after acquiring Medingo Roche is finally getting set to launch the Solo insulin pump. According to a company issued press release;
“Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) announced today that it has received CE Mark for its Accu Chek® Solo micropump system. The company will initiate the pilot commercialization phase for its innovative insulin delivery system in Austria, Poland, Switzerland and the UK in the coming weeks and is conducting a clinical study in several European countries.”
Now to be fair we have not seen the Solo for some time so it’s possible that after six years Roche has improved on the Solo we saw way back in the day. The release states;
“The Accu-Chek Solo micropump system allows for convenience and personalization in insulin pump therapy while contributing to a more targeted and effective diabetes management. It offers the functionalities of a traditional insulin pump alongside with the technological advancement of tube-free insulin delivery. The system consists of two parts: a small, lightweight and semi-disposable insulin micropump and a fully-featured remote control incorporating blood glucose monitoring and bolus advice. The system provides bolus insulin dosing both from the remote control or directly from the pump as well as the option to detach and re-attach the pump without wasting insulin. In addition, the system connects to Roche Diabetes Care’s digital solutions such as the Accu-Chek Smart Pix system, providing decision and therapy support at the doctor’s office with a proven tool for efficient, effective and personalized diabetes management.”
Just in case anyone thinks the Solo stands a chance to be commercially successful let us remind everyone that Roche once spent over a billion bucks to acquire what was then the number two player in insulin pumps Disetronic. An acquisition that didn’t work out all that well as where is this pump today, in the insulin pump graveyard.
So, Roche now joins Lilly, OnDuo, CellNovo, Bigfoot and god knows who else for the right to have their heads bashed in by insulin pump leader Medtronic. They must also compete with Tandem and Insulet who have newer way cool whiz bang systems coming out.
We are seriously trying to figure out why all these companies want to experience pain and suffering. Why they want to enter a market which is barely growing and has one player that owns over 70% of the global market. We sometimes wonder how some very smart people do some incredibly stupid things.
They must be aware that JNJ with all their money and marketing might never turned a profit with Animas and worse couldn’t sell the unit when the time came to exit the business. Surely, they are aware of the many companies that have come and gone in this space.
Now before we go any further just a little shout out to the west coast mafia who claimed when Medtronic signed their exclusive deal with UnitedHealthCare this would stifle innovation. Let’s see since then Tandem and Insulet have introduced new systems, Bigfoot has raised more money, Lilly and OnDuo have entered the market. So yep right again guys. So, keep up the good work and remember never let the facts get in the way of your fantasies. Seriously these people haven’t a clue how this business works and they keep proving that time and time again.
Getting back to the Solo our guess is that Roche is launching the Solo to make their diabetes device unit more salable. Now that JNJ has sold LifeScan for $2.1 billion the company might just be thinking they can fetch a higher amount selling not just their BGM unit but BGM plus insulin pumps. Or in other words do what JNJ should have been able to do but couldn’t do. Honestly it still astonishes us that JNJ couldn’t sell Animas. This is going to go down as one of the major F ups in diabetes device history right alongside Roche spending over a billion bucks to acquire Disetronic and then running the company into the ground.
With all these companies entering the insulin pump space we are reminded of something Momma Kliff used to say; “Never ever underestimate the power of stupidity.”