ADA: Onduo's virtual clinic helps lower A1c in Type 2 diabetes studies

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Onduo recently appointed Verily’s chief clinical officer of health platforms, Vindell Washington, as its interim CEO, months after its parent Sanofi announced it would be exiting the diabetes research space. (Shutterstock)

Virtual diabetes clinic Onduo delivered data from three studies this week showing its coaching and monitoring platforms helped people with Type 2 diabetes better control their blood sugar while also avoiding emotional distress.

Presented virtually at the annual scientific meeting of the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the studies build on research from earlier this year examining the feasibility of Onduo’s remote-care approach, which provides continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) equipment through the mail and then trains users via their smartphones.

In one real-world study of 612 people with Type 2 diabetes, participants in Onduo’s virtual coaching programs showed improvements in A1c levels regardless of whether they used a CGM—although the use of a monitor was associated with stronger improvements.  

Those who did use the system saw their overall A1c levels drop by 0.9 percentage points, down from a baseline of 7.9%, compared to 0.4 percentage points down from 7.7% among those that did not use the CGM. The ADA recommends that most adults aim for an A1c level under 7%. 

For people starting out with a higher A1c, such as over 9%, those who used the CGM alongside with the coaching programs saw a 3.3 percentage-point drop versus 1.7 without, according to the study.

“There is a real benefit in integrating a connected device like a CGM within a personalized, remote support and virtual care model like Onduo’s,” said study co-author Robert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D., who also serves as the ADA’s chief scientific and medical officer. “It encourages and facilitates shared decision-making and improved self-management, both of which are foundational to diabetes care.”

RELATED: Sanofi to restructure its Onduo, Verily partnership alongside diabetes exit

A second real-world analysis, published in the journal Clinical Diabetes, measured the levels of stress in 228 people related to their daily diabetes decision-making. Average ratings fell after about six months in the program, including in scales related to emotional distress and their treatment regimens. 

“Diabetes distress is a major obstacle to successful self-management and is associated with problematic adherence and poor health outcomes,” said study lead author William Polonsky, president of the Behavioral Diabetes Institute and an associate professor of psychology at the University of San Diego. 

Finally, a prospective study followed 55 adults through Onduo’s telehealth clinic for four months after being recruited through two primary care centers and provided with CGM systems. It found an average decrease in A1c by 1.6 percentage points and a 10.2% increase in the amount of time participants spent within a healthy blood sugar range over the course of a day.

“The common thread through these findings is that CGM augments the effects of our program,” said Onduo’s head of clinical affairs, Ronald Dixon. “Moving forward, we are exploring ways to more broadly and creatively integrate CGM into our program to promote better health for the most people possible.”

First launched in 2016 as a joint venture between Sanofi and Google’s life sciences-focused sister company, Verily, that deal saw some changes last December as the drugmaker made the decision to exit the diabetes research space. 

Since then, Onduo recently appointed Verily’s chief clinical officer of health platforms, Vindell Washington, as interim CEO to lead it through what it described as its “next stage of growth.” Former CEO Josh Riff, who had served as chief since launch, left to pursue other entrepreneurial opportunities, according to the company.

Last year, Onduo completed its expansion to all states in the continental U.S.; the virtual clinic has also stated that it plans to expand its mobile health offerings outside of diabetes to other chronic conditions.