Medtronic signs on to distribute Allurion's swallowable balloon, AI platform for weight loss

The next year is set to be a busy one for Allurion: Not only is the weight-loss technology maker planning to go public this summer but it has also now tapped Medtronic to help bring its technology to even more healthcare providers and patients around the world.

Allurion has signed a 12-month pilot collaboration agreement with Medtronic, it announced Thursday. Under the terms of their deal, Medtronic will be able to offer Allurion’s swallowable gastric balloon and artificial intelligence-powered Iris healthcare management program through its existing sales channels in Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Explaining the company’s choice of distribution partner, Shantanu Gaur, M.D., Allurian’s founder and CEO, specifically cited Medtronic’s “exceptional distribution capabilities across a number of different channels that can augment our base business” in the announcement.

“We also believe this partnership will help accelerate adoption of our Iris AI platform as a standalone offering to streamline the management of patients undergoing bariatric surgery and potentially improve outcomes, further cementing our position as a leader in AI and weight management,” Gaur added.

The Allurion weight-loss program centers on the company’s swallowable gastric balloon, which is meant to eliminate the need for surgical placement of other bariatric devices. Patients swallow the balloon in capsule form, and it’s inflated once it reaches the stomach, with an aim of filling up the stomach and therefore curbing hunger.

The balloon is meant to stay in place for about four months, after which it naturally deflates and leaves the body through the digestive system. Throughout that time, patients can monitor their progress and receive behavior-changing guidance using Allurion’s connected scale, health-tracking smartwatch and mobile app.

Healthcare providers, meanwhile, can keep an eye on their patients via Allurion’s virtual care suite, which includes the Iris AI platform. The platform, which launched last year, is equipped with a machine-learning algorithm to predict the outcome of each patient’s weight-loss regimen. The entire virtual care suite is available separately from the Allurion balloon, allowing doctors to track patients’ progress whether they’re using the Allurion balloon or another surgical, pharmaceutical or nutritional weight-loss aid.

The Medtronic team-up comes as Allurion is gearing up to go public within the next few weeks. It’ll do so through a combination with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Compute Health Acquisition Corp., in a deal that values the resulting combined company at $500 million.

Allurion’s go-public deal also has ties to Medtronic: For one, Medtronic is an investor in Compute Health, parent company of the SPAC. For another, former Medtronic CEO and Chairman Omar Ishrak has invested in the deal and has also been tapped to join the newly public company’s board of directors as both co-chairman and lead independent director.