BD, JDRF team up for artificial pancreas

As medical device companies the world over race to develop an artificial pancreas, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has teamed up with Becton Dickinson ($BDX) to combine insulin infusion with continuous glucose monitoring and improve the lives of diabetics.

The three-year partnership builds off earlier collaborations between the two, this time focused on developing a single device that combines treatment and monitoring, negating the need for the multiple indwelling catheters many Type 1 diabetes sufferers must endure.

As it stands, many diabetics use catheter-equipped insulin pumps to manage their disease, working in tandem with invasive continuous glucose monitors, an uncomfortable solution that also opens the door to error, infection and technological failure. Combining the two technologies to create a device that functions like a healthy pancreas would make a world of difference for diabetics, and with JDRF's support BD believes it can make headway toward that goal, Diabetes President Linda Tharby said.

"This latest collaboration with JDRF demonstrates both parties' commitment to improve patients' experiences and outcomes," Tharby said in a statement. "Combining these novel technologies will address two key components of an advanced artificial pancreas system."

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) Animas division is leading the way in artificial pancreas development, working through a second feasibility study of its external device designed to mimic a healthy organ, but Medtronic ($MDT) and Tandem are progressing with devices designed to join infusion and monitoring.

Medtronic is going through the FDA process with Paradigm Veo, a closed-loop insulin pump that can detect blood glucose content and suspend delivery when it veers from healthy levels, and Tandem is at work on a dual-chamber insulin pump to better regulate glucose levels.

JDRF has lent its support to all three companies, signing multi-year partnerships to speed along development, and the charity is currently sponsoring about $530 million in scientific research in 17 countries.

- read the statement