Sanofi, Voluntis ally to pilot diabetes management app

Sanofi and Voluntis will run pilot programs featuring the medical device in North America and Europe

Sanofi has teamed up with Voluntis to run pilot programs featuring a prescription-only smartphone app for managing Type 2 diabetes. The agreement tightens Sanofi’s ties to a technology it sees as helping to improve outcomes in diabetes by enabling patients to better control their conditions.

Voluntis and Sanofi began working together in 2011 on a technology to help adult diabetics dose their basal and bolus insulin. Since then, Voluntis has developed and secured regulatory clearances in the U.S. and European Union for Insulia, a medical device that provides insulin dose advice and coaching messages to diabetics through a web portal and mobile apps. Insulia also shares patient data with the healthcare team, enabling remote monitoring of their condition and insulin use.

The system is designed to work with Sanofi’s Lantus. Voluntis has now secured the support of the insulin’s manufacturer as it seeks to build on the regulatory clearances it secured last year and establish Insulia as a digital diabetes management tool.

“This new phase of our partnership with a world leader in diabetes will help us deliver digital titration tools into the hands of providers and their patients,” Voluntis Chairman Eric Elliott said in a statement.

Together, Sanofi and Voluntis will run pilot programs featuring the medical device in North America and Europe. For Sanofi, part of the appeal is the potential for the technology to improve the outcomes achieved by patients on Lantus by helping them to better control their blood glucose levels.

With sales of Lantus falling 12% last year—following a 11% drop in 2015—Sanofi needs ways to show patients, prescribers and payers its blockbuster insulin represents good value in the face of pricing pressure and competition from biosimilars and new innovator products. Voluntis thinks its technology can contribute to this effort.

“Digital therapeutics allow manufacturers and payers to check whether agreed value metrics have been achieved and help to lower costs without compromising on patient outcomes and access. They ensure that prescription medications deliver the effects for which they were brought to market,” Elliott said.

News of the collaboration comes one month after Voluntis teamed up with Livongo Health to add its Insulia device to the latter’s diabetes management service.