Is The Navigator DOA?

Is The Navigator DOA?

One has to wonder what Abbott (NYSE:ABT) has in store for the Navigator, should it ever be approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Here we are almost four years after the device was submitted to the FDA and all we have is rumors. Several times Diabetic Investor has heard approval was just days away and still nothing.

While Diabetic Investor is no longer convinced that approval is coming, the more important question is what does Abbott do if Navigator does get approved? Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Dexcom (NASDAQ:DXCM) have already made improvements to their original devices and are gaining invaluable input from patients who are using their systems. While Abbott can’t get out of the starting gate Medtronic and Dexcom are taking this user input and making system improvements.

The delay in getting Navigator out of the FDA and into the market has also cost Abbott the opportunity to combine the system with Insulet’s (NASDAQ:PODD) OmniPod. It won’t be long before Dexcom and Insulet announce a joint venture that will combine their two devices. This will be great move for Dexcom and Insulet and could signal the end to any chances the Navigator had to be commercially successful.

With Animas now part of Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), Roche owning Disteronic and Deltec crippled; Abbott is running out of options to combine Navigator with an existing insulin pump system. They do have a pump of their own but with the insulin pump market already over-crowded it is unlikely they have could gain any traction with a system that is basically a me-too product. That’s why the combination with Insulet gave Navigator a chance, take away that possibility and it’s difficult to imagine a scenario where the Navigator succeeds.

With their conventional blood glucose monitoring unit also in disarray, the future for Abbott Diabetes Care is murky at best. Some have speculated that the company could prevent the Insulet Dexcom combination by just buying Insulet outright, while this is possible Diabetic Investor isn’t so sure. More than likely when Dexcom and Insulet hook up look for Abbott to try and block the deal with a lawsuit.

Diabetic Investor questions whether the company has the appetite for another acquisition in the diabetes space after two failed attempts with Medisense and Therasense. It would be a shame if Abbott completed the tri-fecta, bought Insulet and ruined another great company.

David Kliff
Diabetic Investor
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