JPM24: With Abbott integration, Tandem finds 2nd CGM partner for automated insulin delivery tech

After scoring an FDA nod last spring allowing updated versions of its continuous glucose monitors to be integrated into automated insulin delivery systems, Abbott has selected the first such system to pair with its FreeStyle Libre technology in the U.S.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 Plus CGM will now be compatible with Tandem Diabetes Care’s t:slim X2 insulin pump and Control-IQ algorithm, the companies announced during the annual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco on Monday.

Though this marks the first stateside automated insulin delivery partnership for the FreeStyle Libre technology, Abbott isn’t the first CGM maker to team up with Tandem. Last month, the t:slim X2 became the first automated insulin pump to pair with the Dexcom G7 sensor; it had previously been compatible with the company’s G6 model. Meanwhile, outside the U.S., Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre 3 sensor has been integrated into an artificial pancreas system with Ypsomed and CamDiab.

Tandem has long planned to add several sensor options to its roster. While laying out the company’s integration plans last year, CEO John Sheridan claimed that the t:slim X2 was on track to be “the first FDA-cleared insulin pump integrated with multiple CGM sensors,” thanks to the planned team-ups with both Abbott and Dexcom. He also said during the early May investor call that Tandem would add the FreeStyle Libre 3 CGM to that roster in a “fast follow-up” once the Libre 2 model’s integration was set.

The collaboration allows Abbott and Tandem’s devices to create what’s known as a hybrid closed-loop system for diabetes management. The FreeStyle Libre 2 Plus sensor, which collects glucose readings every minute, will wirelessly transmit those data to Tandem’s system, where they’ll be analyzed by the Control-IQ algorithm. The algorithm can predict changes in blood sugar up to 30 minutes in advance and will automatically adjust the t:slim X2 pump’s insulin dosages every five minutes as needed.

Meanwhile, users can view their real-time glucose and insulin data both on Tandem’s t:connect mobile app and on the display of the insulin pump itself.

Altogether, “artificial pancreas” systems like these are designed to help prevent potentially dangerous spikes and dips in glucose levels, while also reducing the burden on individuals to meticulously manage and tweak insulin dosing themselves throughout the day—though they’re still required to manually input mealtime boluses and are advised to keep an eye on their glucose levels.

Adding to that ease of use is the fact that the FreeStyle Libre 2 Plus CGM boasts a 15-day wear time, meaning users will only need to swap out sensors twice a month, “which ensures both a more convenient and more affordable experience,” as Jared Watkin, executive VP of Abbott’s diabetes care business, noted in Monday’s announcement.

To create the closed-loop system, existing t:slim X2 users in the U.S. will be able to install a free software update making their devices compatible with a FreeStyle Libre 2 Plus sensor. Meanwhile, for new customers, Tandem said it has already begun shipping out pumps with the update already installed.

Editor's note: This story was updated to clarify that this is the first AID partnership for Abbott in the U.S., rather than its first overall.