Abbott tracks down Bigfoot Biomedical in deal to combine diabetes tech

It’s no legend: Abbott has captured Bigfoot Biomedical by striking a deal to acquire the diabetes management tech maker.

Abbott and Bigfoot announced the purchase Tuesday, though they didn’t disclose its financial terms. The sale is expected to be completed sometime in the third quarter of this year.

“The acquisition of Bigfoot Biomedical will combine two leaders in different aspects of diabetes care: continuous glucose monitoring and insulin dosing support,” Jared Watkin, senior vice president of Abbott’s diabetes care business, said in the announcement. “Bringing our companies together will allow us to further develop connected solutions for making diabetes management even more personal and precise.”

Bigfoot’s flagship Unity system—which was initially cleared by the FDA for use with an iPhone app in 2021 before being expanded to Android operating systems this year—centers around “smart” caps that snap onto most disposable long- and rapid-acting insulin pens.

Once installed, the pen caps can be tapped against a continuous glucose monitor sensor on the back of a user’s arm for a real-time blood sugar reading. The readings show up both on the pen cap’s digital display—which also keeps track of how long it’s been since the user’s last insulin dose—and in the connected smartphone app, giving users the information they need to make decisions about their next insulin doses.

The Unity app compiles those data into longer-term charts, highlighting trends in a user’s glucose levels and insulin dosage times, and it also sends out alerts if their real-time blood sugar levels leave a predetermined healthy range.

Bigfoot’s system has long been designed for use solely with CGMs from Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre line. They struck a partnership deal in 2017, after which Abbott continued to show support for the startup by chipping into its $55 million series B round in 2018 and leading a series C of the same amount two years later.

“Bigfoot Biomedical is the first company to design, develop and deliver a novel insulin delivery solution built around continuous glucose monitoring,” Jeffrey Brewer, the company’s CEO, said in Tuesday’s release. “We selected Abbott as our CGM partner because both companies share a vision to provide simple, affordable and easy-to-use tools for people with diabetes. We look forward to continuing to innovate together and to the scale Abbott can provide, bringing Bigfoot Unity to as many people who may benefit.”

Ahead of the Abbott acquisition, Bigfoot had recently added to its own diabetes tech portfolio. In March, the startup said it had acquired an algorithm from developers at McGill University for an undisclosed amount.

The algorithm tracks how people with diabetes respond to certain insulin doses to generate future dosing suggestions. Brewer suggested at the time that the algorithm could be added to the Bigfoot Unity system, further simplifying the insulin dose calculation process and diabetes management overall.