One step closer to the future

One step closer to the future

This morning we learned that Sevier, French based pharmaceutical company agreed to pay privately held Intarcia Therapeutics $171 million up front an amount which increase to $1 billion or more, for the rights to co-develop the company’s implantable pump which is designed to deliver one years’ worth of the GLP-1 exenatide. (Exenatide is currently marketed as Byetta which is now owned by AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN).

Diabetic Investor views this investment as significant not just because it validates what Intarcia has been doing but it also signals a move into the future of diabetes management.  One of the biggest problems standing between patients and better outcomes is therapy compliance. Ask any endocrinologist or primary care physician to name one thing that would help patients achieve better outcomes and the answer is consistently getting patients to be compliant with their therapy regimen. Should Intarcia be successful and get their device approved this system would solve the issue of therapy compliance.

There was a time when Diabetic Investor wasn’t a supporter of implantable systems for the simple reason if something went wrong with the device it would have to be removed from the patient. Our position has changed over the years as technology has improved. Yes the possibility still exists that an implantable system can fail but with the Intarcia device the risk factor is mitigated because it delivers a GLP-1 and not insulin. Unlike insulin which if improperly delivered leads to hypoglycemia which in serve cases is a life threatening event, GLP-1’s only work when they need to and cases of severe hypoglycemia are rare.

Diabetic Investor also believes it’s just a matter of time before we’ll see other implantable devices that will help make the patient’s life easier and ultimately improve diabetes management. Just by way of example we’re aware of several companies who are developing implantable sensors which measure glucose levels continuously. Rather than changing sensors every seven days the sensor would work for an extended period of time, perhaps up to a year, delivering readings to a patient’s receiver or smartphone.

The one area we don’t see implantable devices becoming prominent is insulin delivery, basically for the reasons we mentioned earlier.

Unlike other deals that have been made between a French pharmaceutical company and an American drug delivery company, this deal between Intarcia and Sevier has a real chance of working.  Intarcia is on the cutting edge and if successful could forever change the future of diabetes management for millions of patients with Type 2 diabetes. Exciting news indeed.