More way cool whiz bang

More way cool whiz bang

At some point, it just might dawn on the companies who design all these way cool whiz bang diabetes apps that people with diabetes, the majority anyway, are not actively engaged with their diabetes management. This is not to say they don’t care, rather they have real lives to live and that managing their diabetes is just one thing they deal with, something they wish they didn’t have to deal with. We often wonder if any of these companies have a clue as to what it’s really like to live with diabetes. We wonder if they have bothered to talk with patients who are NOT actively engaged with their diabetes management, real people.

Diabetic Investor has always had a great deal of respect for companies which had their employees, even the ones who did not have diabetes, use the devices they made. That even though these employees did not have diabetes they should get a taste of what’s it like to live with diabetes. What’s it like to check glucose levels four times each day, wear a sensor or insulin pump. What’s it like for a patient following multiple daily injection (MDI) therapy to inject themselves four or more times each day.

We mention as this news comes about another way cool whiz bang diabetes app this one from the good people at Voluntis, a company based in France. Yesterday the company received a CE mark and FDA approval for their prescription-only Insulia diabetes management companion. Per a company issued press release;

“Insulia® Diabetes Management Companion is a prescription-only medical device that provides patients with insulin dose recommendations and educational coaching messages in response to blood glucose values and other diabetes-related data. Insulia® supports a wide variety of treatment plan configurations and evidence-based insulin adjustment rules used in routine clinical practice. First the clinician sets up a personalized treatment plan based on the patient’s profile, insulin prescription and blood glucose targets. This enables Insulia® to provide automated insulin dosing recommendations to the patient. The dose adjustment algorithm is embedded in the application, and is accessible to the patient via a web portal or via iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. The patient data is automatically shared with the health care team, who can remotely monitor the patient’s progress toward their goal thanks to tailored notifications. This enables providers to deliver highly personalized telemedicine services, a practice increasingly supported by payers worldwide.”

For the moment, this way cool whiz bang technology isn’t cloud enabled, yes this is not a misprint, for the time being the patient must manually enter current glucose levels and how much insulin they dose. It should also be noted this way cool whiz bang technology only works with patients using Lantus or Levemir.

According to the company they do plan on automating the product so that the patient does not have to manually enter glucose levels or insulin dosing, meaning more way cool devices for the patient to use. No information was available as to whether this way cool technology will be updated to work with Tresiba, Toujeo or Basaglar.

Now we know what everyone is thinking, Voluntis besides being based in France, also has an office in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Well it just so happens that our wine drinking friends have offices in these two locations. It’s also true that besides being located close to each other Sanofi (NYSE: SNY) who makes Lantus also has investment in a “smart” insulin pen company and has access to a conventional cloud enabled glucose monitor, imagine that. And just to add flavor to this wine Sanofi is partnered with a small company called Google, who as it turns out also has a deal with Dexcom (NASDAQ: DXCM) who along with Google is developing a Band-Aid like continuous sensor to be used by insulin using Type 2 patients, patients who use Lantus.

Let’s not stop there as guess what Alexandre Capet, the company’s Chief Strategy & Marketing Office used to work at … wait for it … Sanofi. The Sanofi connection does end there as Nicolas Cartier, a member of the company’s supervisory board was General Manager of Sanofi France from 2009 to 2013. Looking over the company’s list of investors there is deep French connection, which by the way also happens to be one great movie, but we digress.

Go ahead and look at the company’s web site www.voluntis.com and browse through some of the pages. A web site full of great buzz words, some snazzy graphics and videos. This just reeks of if we build it they will buy it thinking. That someone will be dumb enough to buy a technology that while way cool and whiz bang will have a very tough time gaining market share. A technology that still has a way to go to be ready for primetime. In other words, a company that fits the Sanofi profile perfectly.

This is not to say that the technology will never be ready for primetime, rather it will take years and lots of additional capital to get it ready for primetime.

Now never mind that as way cool and whiz bang this technology is it can be easily replicated. Or that others are working on the exact same thing. This is the wacky world of diabetes where everyone has fallen in love with way cool whiz bang technology. Technology which as we pointed out earlier today must be used by patients in the real world. Patients that have multiple way cool whiz bang options, assuming that is they want all this way cool whiz bang technology.

Let’s be honest here Sanofi even with as badly as they have managed their diabetes franchise has gobs of money. Keep in mind this is the same company that partnered with MannKind (NASDAQ: MNKD) and spent $250 million for the privilege of “partnering” with Google. A partnership by the way that has yet to yield anything more than some nice press releases. A partnership which if history is any indication won’t get anywhere, not because Google isn’t serious, rather because Sanofi has screwed up every other partnership they had in diabetes, just ask the folks at Medtronic (NYSE: MDT).

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again when it comes to anything diabetes not called Lantus Sanofi has the reverse Midas touch and the unique ability to turn gold into sand. That our wine drinking friends would find a way to screw up a winning Powerball ticket. But we would just love it if Sanofi would take their arrogance and hubris to new heights and go after Voluntis.

Now we aren’t trying to be cruel and quite frankly there is no need to be as Sanofi’s track record in diabetes is well documented. Other than Lantus it’s been failure after failure. Yet at some point it would seem logical that companies would avoid doing diabetes related deals with Sanofi, that they would avoid Sanofi as if they carried a deadly virus. That they would learn the surest and quickest path to destruction is to partner with Sanofi.

As Momma Kliff used to say when we were kids; “Just how many times do I have to tell you not to touch the stove or oven when it’s hot. That you’ll get hurt. That the definition of idiocy is to perform the exact same behavior, time and again but expect different results. That stupid is as stupid does. So my children you better listen up otherwise I’ll tell you father and then you’re in real trouble. As he’ll let you burn yourself knowing full well that sometimes the only way you’re going to learn is to get burned.”