Medtronic reaches another milestone in developing its artificial pancreas

Medical device giant Medtronic ($MDT) said it reached another milestone in developing an artificial pancreas with the completion of global evaluations of its new insulin delivery system.

The company's next-generation system is easier to use in managing diabetes, and includes a new Predictive Low Glucose Management (PLGM) algorithm that automatically stops the delivery of insulin when a sensor detects a glucose level that is approaching a predetermined low level, the company said in a press release. When glucose levels have recovered, the system resumes insulin delivery.

The system's new sensor is 80% smaller than the current Enlite sensor and features a new insulin pump design.

"By delivering on our commitments to drive technical innovations around the world, we aim to transform diabetes care so that more people living with diabetes can enjoy greater freedom and experience better health," Alejandro Galindo, vice president and general manager of the Intensive Insulin Management business at Medtronic, said in a statement.

The company said manufacturing of the system is underway, and it will be introduced in select countries early next year. The company didn't disclose which countries have been selected.

Right now, a pivotal trial is being conducted in the U.S. to evaluate PLGM technology. In October, Medtronic announced that the first patients were enrolled in the pivotal trial, and up to 84 patients were to be enrolled in the trial at 8 centers across the U.S.

Other med tech outfits like San Diego, CA-based Dexcom ($DXCM) are also racing to develop innovative, noninvasive technologies for diabetes monitoring. Last month, Dexcom got FDA approval for its own artificial pancreas algorithm for its own continuous glucose monitoring device (CGM).

-see the release