Virtual ADA

Virtual ADA

With the Memorial Day holiday now behind us summer beckons and our attention turns to the upcoming virtual ADA. Under normal circumstances this would be cause for celebration as the diabetes world would have gathered in this great city of Chicago. Yet as we all know these are not normal circumstances and while this city is still great it would be greater if our mayor opened up the lakefront, but that my friends is a story for another day. So let’s get back to the wacky world of diabetes and what we might expect this year.

First on the list is boredom, no disrespect to the ADA but virtual presentations aren’t that exciting. Frankly the live presentations aren’t either.

Second we’ll miss the exhibit hall as this is where the real action takes place, well actually more action takes place off site, but the exhibit hall is always filled with rumors and gossip.

Third and this really hurts we’ll miss the parties and damn Chicago has some of the best party venues, so this doubly hurts.

Fourth for us anyway we’ll miss seeing our extended family. It’s hard to believe that when we started attending ADA’s my kids were kids while today I’m a proud grandfather of two scrapping grandsons.

Fifth the ADA for us anyway has always been a mixed bag. There is the promise of tomorrow combined with the harsh realities of today. Maybe we’re getting cranky in our advanced age but it’s difficult not be after you have seen billions spent on way cool whiz bang yet no major improvements in the statistic that counts the most percentage of patients achieving good control.

One thing that hasn’t changed virtual or not is companies playing the expectations game. Those of us who follow this wacky world are well aware of which study data is important and which isn’t. Some years there are presentations which are must attend events while most years there are only a handful of really important presentations. Yet this doesn’t stop companies from either upping or downplaying expectations.

We mention this as Medtronic is one company downplaying expectations. Last week during their earnings call someone asked a question about the diabetes pipeline and what data would be released during the virtual ADA. Here is Sean Salmon answer;

“Yes, thanks for the question Bob. So we’ll have two data sets coming up at the ADA, the virtual ADA. The first of which is going to be a randomized study out of New Zealand, which serves as the CE Mark data. And the second one is the adult portion of the Advanced Hybrid Closed Loop data, which will be featured there. And just one thing to set your expectations for that, really evaluated a number of different things in that study. Most importantly, we looked at targeting the glucose settings for patients with two different levels. One is the usual level that we have with 670 today. And the other one is a more aggressive lower target and we’re evaluating the safety of that. So as you look at those results, you’ll see that there’s a really a lot to unpack there. But we’re very confident in the product and look forward to sharing the results next month.”

Being well versed in corporate speak what our caught our attention was Mr. Salmon’s comment “that there’s really a lot to unpack there. BUT we’re very confident in the product”. For those less well versed in corporate speak allow us to translate. Whenever a company says there’s a lot to unpack this means the data set will be less than impressive. The fact that Mr. Salmon added a BUT tells us that our instincts about this pipeline being less than impressive is correct. That this new system won’t leapfrog the real world results we’re seeing with the Control IQ and may not even be on par with the Control IQ.

The harsh reality for Medtronic is they no longer are setting the standard for way cool whiz bang. That their technology is now behind Tandem’s. Had Insulet not run into issues with the Horizon we suspect Medtronic would have also fallen behind Insulet as well. To us this is a temporary setback for Insulet and once here we suspect the Horizon will produce results similar to the Control IQ.

The insulin pump market has been a three-horse race for some time now and Medtronic is no longer running well ahead of the pack. This once mighty thoroughbred is getting old and tired allowing the others to pull within striking distance. The franchise is not yet ready for the glue factory, but it will never regain its former dominance.