Earlier this year, while speaking with Fierce Medtech at the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, Dexcom CEO Kevin Sayer noted that the continuous glucose monitor maker had recently changed its mission statement—swapping “health” for “diabetes” in its aim of “Empowering people to take control of health.”
Just a few months later, Dexcom is taking “the first great, big step” toward expanding its technology beyond the diabetes community, Sayer said in an interview during the American Diabetes Association’s (ADA's) annual scientific sessions on Monday.
And while that first step is still focusing on users with diabetes, it’ll target a brand-new segment of the population for Dexcom: people with Type 2 diabetes who aren’t on insulin therapy—a group estimated to make up about 70% of all Americans with diabetes.
The company is currently developing a sensor that those individuals will be able to use not only to monitor their glucose levels but also to track how their diet, medications and activity levels affect their overall health, Dexcom announced during a company investor day ahead of the ADA conference.
“We’ve known that this technology would be valuable in this population for a very, very long time,” Sayer said in the interview. “Whenever we talk to people who use [our technology] who are not on insulin therapy, they talk about the things they’ve learned, the changes they’ve made in their lives.”
Dexcom is expecting to begin rolling out the sensor in the U.S. next year. It’s being developed to last 15 days—longer than the 10-day life span of Dexcom’s recently launched G7 CGM. The new sensor will also be equipped with a different software experience than the G7, which is currently indicated for people with both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes who do use insulin.
“This group will have different needs than our insulin-using group,” Sayer said, offering as an example the G7’s predictive low and “urgent low soon” alerts, which “are not of benefit to somebody who’s not on insulin.”
“What is important to them is getting information that will enhance their lifestyle,” he explained. “We’re going to give people information whereby they can see the effect of their meals, they can see the effect of exercise in their lives and also evaluate whether or not their medications work as we put them on this product.”
The new sensor will also nix the G7’s sharing feature, which allows users to give caregivers and loved ones access to their real-time glucose readings. The information collected by Dexcom’s new device, in contrast, “isn’t data you need to share with everybody all the time,” Sayer said.
“So there are some things we can take out, and then we can add other insights that will be meaningful for this group and enable them to make behavioral and lifestyle changes that can make them healthier,” he continued.
The Type 2 population will be just the start for the new sensor. Sayer suggested that it could one day offer “a great experience” to people looking to manage their weight or monitor prediabetes, or even simply for those “on a health and wellness crusade.”
In fact, Dexcom is already in discussions with the FDA on labeling for the new sensor—since CGMs are currently indicated only for use by people with diabetes—and the agency has “been very cooperative,” the CEO reported.
Aside from helping the company bring its technology to even more users, the plans for the new sensor are also helping transform Dexcom’s approach to its future software development, Sayer said.
“I’ve said for a long time that you’ll see the day when we become a software company every bit as much as a hardware company,” he said. “This is really a foray into a brand-new experience for us, and I think this is the beginning of what can be our expansion model over time.”
That expansion could see Dexcom’s technology further evolve in the gestational diabetes space, for example, “where an expectant mother has a different need than somebody who’s on insulin or even somebody with Type 2 diabetes not on insulin,” he continued. “So we can create experiences for these markets and really get people to engage with their health. And any time you get people engaged, you get positive results.”