Decision Diagnostics challenges J&J with diabetes test

Decision Diagnostics is challenging Johnson & Johnson with Genstrip.--Courtesy of Decision Diagnostics

Johnson & Johnson ($JNJ) hogs a huge share of the glucose meter market with its LifeScan subsidiary, but the small-time Decision Diagnostics ($DECN) has crafted a testing strip for the device that threatens to snatch some of the giant's revenue.

As Forbes reports, Decision won FDA clearance in the fall for Genstrip, a disposable LifeScan insert that works the same as J&J's branded strips. Patients use between two and 8 strips per day with their glucose meters, the magazine reports, and if Decision can keep expanding Genstrip's adoption, it could lure a licensing deal with one of J&J's competitors or get bought outright.

That could spell a shrinking market share for J&J, and the drug and device magnate isn't sitting on its hands, filing a patent infringement suit against Decision and seeking an injunction to stop the company from selling Genstrip. So far, Decision's product remains on the market, Forbes reports, and CEO Keith Berman says J&J has "ignored the market's message" in trying to maintain a glucose strip monopoly.

"Currently there are no alternative testing strips available for diabetics who use J&J's LifeScan Ultra meters, or any major glucose monitoring system platform for that matter," Berman told the magazine, and if Decision can keep Genstrip on the market, it likely won't be the last to chase profits in providing new options.

J&J's LifeScan Ultra has been the world's most popular meter since 2004, Forbes notes, used by about 6.2 million people and raking in about $5 billion in sales in its decade on the market.

- read the Forbes story

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