Virtual or not the rumors continue
The annual ADA conference this year may be virtual but that hasn’t stop the diabetes rumor mill from churning. Next to the release of clinical studies the second favorite activity at one of these things is gossip. And to be honest gossip is more popular but hey this is supposed to be a scientific conference, so people have to pretend to be interested in the presentations. Typically the exhibit hall and bars are a hot bed of gossip. Hence the reason we are truly missing having the wacky world here in my hometown this week. Nothing better than knocking a few back and listening to all the juicy gossip.
Thankfully the gossip like the conference has also gone virtual and a hot topic is the impending approval of the Libre2. It should be noted that Abbott the makers of Libre are also a Chicago company, well not really as Libertyville is a suburb of this great city. Anyway some people have been very public saying the Libre2 approval will come any day. Not surprisingly the folks at Abbott aren’t talking which again isn’t surprising as during their recent earnings call they have gone radio silent on the subject.
After working our many sources we have no idea if this rumor is true or not and quite honestly we could care less. The fact is Libre2 should have been here already and this delayed approval has cost Abbott valuable time as the G7 from Dexcom beckons. Frankly approved or not Abbott to their credit will not deviate from their value strategy. Nor will the approval, if it comes, will hurt Dexcom although if it does come it will create a buying opportunity for anyone who wants to buy shares of the company. Folks CGM is the domain of Dexcom and Abbot and yes it is that simple.
Another juicy rumor is whether Google is staying in diabetes. As has been widely reported OnDuo, which is now fully owned by Verily a unit of Google has just undergone a management change. The speculation is that Google isn’t happy that OnDuo hasn’t lived up to expectations and never came close to the value once placed on the company, a mere $2 BILLION. Would we be surprised if Google left diabetes nope, would we surprised if they stayed nope. Listen when you have BILLIONS sitting around in cash and more BILLIONS coming in from your core businesses does wasting $250 MILLION really matter?
Here are some facts which are related to rumors Ascensia wants to develop a Tyler of their own, the speculation is just who will they buy or invest in to build their version. At last count there are something like 16 companies that either have or are developing a connected pen or connected cap cover so finding a willing partner is easy. The hard part will be after collecting all the pieces of Tyler getting it onto the market and into the hands of patients. As we’ve said before with insulin pumps and CGM anyone can develop these toys the hard part is running a commercially viable toy company. So all we’ll say to Ascensia is happy hunting and good luck as you are going to need it.
We continue to wonder what Medtronic will do with their diabetes unit. Will they sell it? Keep it? But again with all the issues this unit faces it might not matter. Once the ruler of the insulin pump universe the unit has gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. The Evil Empire isn’t completely destroyed just yet, but the rebels have clearly won the battle making the Empire almost an afterthought. No matter what happens this unit will forever serve as a reminder of what happens when you combine arrogance with hubris.
Speaking of arrogance and hubris will Livongo find a greater fool or will this house of cards collapse? Yes we know we said we are getting tired of writing about the company, yet we continue to be fascinated by the visceral feelings people have about the company. We haven’t seen this since MannKind first went public, another company which everyone felt was a sure-fire hit. A company which analyst feel in love with projecting Afrezza sales to reach $2 BILLION or more. Needless to say things didn’t turn out that way, something we predicted. Whether Livongo suffers the same fate is anyone’s guess but we aren’t backing away from how we feel as there are only two options here the company gets bought or it collapses, there is no third option.
Will these rumors become fact? That’s anyone’s guess but they are sure fun to think about.