Off and running

Off and running

Ok before we start posting a few JPM reminders;

1. We will do our best to post when we can.

2. Given we start our days early and this is San Francisco expect more than our normal typos and grammatical errors. This is what happens when Starbucks is your main source of energy.

3. It’s raining here and is expected to rain tomorrow too – not that this means anything just thought we would mention it.

Now with that out of the way onto today’s news and yep not one company has presented yet and as we expected this is going to be a wacky conference. So in particular order lets get going;

This morning Lilly (NYSE: LLY) and Livongo announced a strategic collaboration per a press release:

“ Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and Livongo Health, a leading consumer digital health company focused on empowering all people with chronic conditions to live better and healthier lives, today announced a strategic collaboration to study real-world evidence and develop new insights to reduce the burden on people living with diabetes.”

All along we have questioned the value of companies like Livongo and as it turns out we were correct in our speculation that the value isn’t in the way cool whiz bang toy, no the value is all about patient engagement. Simply put how to move beyond giving the patient the how to and helping patients get to the want to. Lilly hopes by learning more about patient behavior they can get them more adherent to their therapy.

Next comes long overdue news that Insulet (NASDAQ: PODD) has received Medicare coverage for the OmniPod. Per a press release;

“Insulet Corporation (NASDAQ: PODD) (Insulet or the Company), the leader in tubeless insulin pump technology with its Omnipod® Insulin Management System (Omnipod System), today announced that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued guidance clarifying that Medicare Part D Plan Sponsors may provide coverage for products such as the Omnipod System under the Medicare Part D (prescription drug) program.”

As we noted this news is long overdo and a positive step forward. However in the scope of things we don’t see this news having a major impact on OmniPod sales and will do little to change the competitive dynamic in the insulin pump market.

It was also announced that Intuity Medical, yes the makers of the Pogo all in one device, the same company that has blown through over $200 million but has yet to bring the Pogo to market even though they finally got the damn thing through the FDA, got another $70 million. Now we’re not sure what to say here other than this is the wacky world of diabetes where anything can and usually does happen even when it makes no sense whatsoever.

We’d like to believe there is some sort of logical reason why anyone would put more money into this company. But the fact is logic doesn’t apply here for if it did no one would put a dime in a product whose time has come and gone, whose cost of goods is way to high and whose market SMBG is dying a slow and painful death. Oh and did we mention that the technology is old, outdated and about to be replaced by CGM. Like we have said many times we no longer question these strange moves as we have enough gray hairs already and don’t need an ulcer.

Speaking of gray hairs and craziness our friends at Tandem (NASDAQ: TNDM) continue to issue press releases the latest being about their close loop technology. Now if you are really interested in what the press release says you can find it on their web site but the reality is no one and we mean no one in the business can believe the company hasn’t imploded yet. All we will say is we hope we are wrong and that someone does come along and save Tandem patients from being forced to find a new system. But we have seen nothing or heard anything that changes our mind that its not a question of if Tandem goes under but when they do.

One last thing before we head off not sure how many folks watched the Golden Globe awards last night but late in the show there was an interesting Apple commerical which specifically mentioned their super secret efforts in glucose monitoring. Efforts which to a large extent is the reason why so many deals are being done in this space. It’s the reason FitBit invested $6 million in a CGM technology which looks good on paper but is really nothing beyond that.

It’s the reason Lilly is making all the deals they are doing and every start up with fancy PowerPoint and good idea will likely get even more money. As we noted the other day the fear of Apple, Amazon and Google is driving nearly every investment made these days. The old guard is scrambling to stay relevant and the newbies sense desperation caused by the follow the leader effect.

We suspect here in this wet city by the bay lots of companies will pontificate about how their way cool whiz bang toy or technology will change diabetes management forever. Worried they will be left behind and afraid that Apple, Google and Amazon are about to eat their lunch the old guard will do what they always do; throw money around in the hopes something good will grow. We’d like to say something good will come of all this, that the patient will actually benefit from all this money being thrown around but our gray hair tells us differently.

Well that’s all for now.