Eli Lilly ends insulin pump collab with Ypsomed to focus on its own diabetes platform

Two years after striking up a deal to commercialize an automated insulin pump that would be developed and manufactured by Ypsomed, Eli Lilly has called off the partnership.

The duo originally unveiled their team-up in November 2020, when they described an updated version of Ypsomed’s MyLife YpsoPump that would be accompanied by continuous glucose monitoring and automated insulin delivery technologies to create a closed-loop diabetes management system for U.S. users. The pump, which Ypsomed initially planned to submit for FDA clearance in 2022 and which Lilly would’ve been responsible for selling throughout the U.S., would run on cartridges pre-filled with Lilly’s rapid-acting insulins.

Those plans have been dashed, however, as Ypsomed announced the end of the partnership on Friday. The Swiss devicemaker said it still plans to forge ahead in submitting the new version of its YpsoPump to the FDA in the second half of next year.

As it nears that milestone, Ypsomed said it will “deepen the discussions with other interested parties” to find a new U.S. commercialization partner to replace Lilly. It already sells the MyLife YpsoPump in Europe, where it’s been cleared for use since 2015.

For its part, the Big Pharma called the decision to split with Ypsomed a “difficult” one in a statement sent to Fierce Medtech. It was “not a reflection on Ypsomed’s technology,” Lilly noted, highlighting the “flexibility and convenience” of its former partner’s insulin delivery system for people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

“The next three to five years are a critical period of growth for Lilly, and while new devices and digital solutions in the pump space are an important aspect of diabetes management today, we made the decision to refocus our investments into our connected pen platform, Tempo Personalized Diabetes Management Platform,” the statement continued.

The company will also focus on building out its portfolio of insulins and other medications aimed at both types of diabetes and other metabolic conditions.

Lilly’s Tempo platform comprises the company’s prefilled, disposable insulin pens and blood glucose monitoring system, as well as a smartphone app that allows users to track data from those devices. It also includes the recently FDA-cleared Tempo Smart Button, which attaches to a Tempo insulin pen and connects to the TempoSmart app via Bluetooth to automatically transfer insulin dosing information.

The TempoSmart app can also take in data from other devices outside of Lilly’s own portfolio, including blood sugar readings from Dexcom’s continuous glucose monitors and general health-tracking data from wearables by Fitbit, Garmin, Google and Apple.

Lilly outlined its plan last month to begin rolling out the platform on a limited basis to some U.S. clinics before the end of the year. From there, it’ll spend 2023 expanding the platform’s reach across the country.