UltaLink Arrives

UltaLink Arrives

Diabetic Investor finds it just slightly ironic that MiniMed has no troubling reaching patients when it comes to selling them more tools and can’t seem to reach patients to inform them when there’s an issue with their pump. We bring this up only because we received the new UltraLink™ glucose monitor today. This is the monitor made by LifeScan that communicates directly to MiniMed’s Paradigm insulin pumps.

A few thoughts on the UltraLink:

1. Size- One might think with all the equipment insulin pump patients have to carry around LifeScan would have made the monitor easier to transport. Better yet, why not build the monitor directly into the pump or at least have it attach to the pump not unlike the CozMonitor.
2. Coding – We know that one day LifeScan will jump on the no-coding bandwagon but why they are taking so long is a mystery.
3. CareLink™USB- Thankfully Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is moving into the wireless age with this device that makes it easy for patients to download information from their pump to Medtronic’s Carelink program.
4. Animas UltraLink? – Is it just Diabetic Investor or does anyone else find it strange that after spending over $500 million to acquire Animas that Johnson and Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) hasn’t come out with a monitor that communicates with the insulin pump they actually own?
5. MiniLink- Is MiniMed giving up on their very own continuous glucose monitoring system? Or have they finally realized that even though pump patients are ideally suited for CGM use, there are still too many bugs with CGM before it becomes readily adopted.
6. LifeScan/MiniMed Joint Venture? – Is the UltraLink just the first step towards a full blown joint venture between these two companies? It is well known that the MiniMed acquisition has never quite lived up to Medtronic’s expectations. It’s equally true that it would difficult if not impossible for JNJ to take MiniMed off Medtronic’s hands. However, there is a strong possibility that the two companies are working on some type of joint venture and the UltraLink is just the first step towards more collaborations.

Even with its limitations the introduction of the UltraLink sends a powerful message to the rest of the glucose monitoring market; LifeScan is squarely focused on their strategy of capturing high frequency testers. It’s only a matter of time before they introduce a no-coding monitor of their own as well as a system that communicates with their own Animas insulin pumps. When it comes to the BGM market, LifeScan is clearly a company that gets it.

David Kliff
Diabetic Investor
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