Insulet bulks up automated insulin delivery tech with $25M purchase of Bigfoot patents

In its efforts to automate as much of the diabetes management process as possible, Insulet has tracked down Bigfoot—Bigfoot Biomedical, that is. The company has an artificial intelligence-powered system that analyzes continuous glucose monitor (CGM) data and doctor recommendations to suggest insulin dosages throughout the day, which can then be manually delivered via insulin pen.

Bigfoot has also claimed patents regarding more hands-off insulin delivery, and those are the subject of a deal with Insulet that was announced Monday. Insulet has offered up to $25 million for the intellectual property rights to technologies that could be embedded into insulin pumps to automate delivery of the medication.

The acquisition effectively doubles Insulet’s IP portfolio, Eric Benjamin, the company’s executive VP of innovation, strategy and digital products, said in a press release.

The technologies covered by the patents could help Insulet build out its Omnipod system, which already automates much of the diabetes management process. The most recent model, Omnipod 5, centers on a tubeless insulin pump that can be fitted with disposable “pods” containing up to three days’ worth of insulin. The pump takes in blood sugar readings from a connected Dexcom CGM and uses them to automatically adjust insulin dosages as needed.

According to Insulet, no calibrating fingersticks or manual injections are needed when the system is connected to a glucose sensor, though users can monitor their dosage and manually adjust settings on an accompanying controller or smartphone app.

Bigfoot, meanwhile, will use the $25 million payout to double down on its own existing offerings. Its Bigfoot Unity technology was cleared by the FDA in 2021 and began a U.S. rollout shortly after.

At the core of the system are Bigfoot’s “smart” caps that fit onto disposable insulin pens. When a user taps their pen cap on a connected Abbott FreeStyle Libre 2 sensor—currently the only CGM compatible with Bigfoot’s devices—the Unity AI algorithms automatically analyze the CGM’s data to recommend insulin dosages that the user can then choose to inject.

“Our history of innovation in insulin delivery has helped us simplify the complexities for this population, by eliminating the anxious guesswork out of daily insulin dose management,” Bigfoot CEO Jeffrey Brewer said in the press release. “We’ll remain focused on commercializing connected injection support technologies and know Insulet can benefit from our patents to bring life-changing pump innovation to people with diabetes in parallel.”

This isn’t the first overlap between Bigfoot and Insulet’s product development strategies. Last year, Bigfoot tapped Matt Rainville—previously a VP at Insulet and general manager of the company’s efforts to bring the Omnipod system to people with Type 2 diabetes—to serve as its chief commercial officer, leading the growth of the Unity system.