Amid back-to-back expansions of two Class I recalls pertaining to the MiniMed insulin pump technology it acquired two decades ago, Medtronic is reportedly eyeing a purchase of another insulin pump maker.
The target in question is Triple Jump, an Israel-based startup developing a small patch that adheres to a diabetes patient’s skin to administer insulin and connects to an accompanying mobile platform. The patch will also be integrated into an “artificial pancreas” automated insulin pump system that’s still in the works from Triple Jump; Medtronic debuted its own FDA-approved artificial pancreas system in 2017.
According to Israeli newspaper Calcalist, Medtronic is in advanced negotiations to make good on an option to acquire Triple Jump that was embedded into an agreement between the two companies when Medtronic reportedly invested $20 million in the startup in September 2020. The devicemaker is said to be plotting out a $300 million purchase price for Triple Jump.
If the purchase comes to fruition, it would be something of a homecoming for Assaf Guy, Triple Jump’s general manager. Before taking his place at the helm of the startup, Guy was a senior mechanical design team leader for Medtronic in Israel.
He also spent several years at Medingo, another patch-based insulin pump maker founded by Triple Jump co-founder Ofer Yodfat. Roche acquired Medingo in 2010 but shut it down just two years later as part of the Big Pharma’s restructuring.
Reports of Medtronic’s plans to acquire Triple Jump come shortly after it scooped up another new diabetes technology. In mid-September, Medtronic paid an undisclosed amount for the intellectual property rights to implanted infusion pump tech developed by Los Angeles’ Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research.
With that technology, insulin pumps can be made smaller and lighter, with more precise insulin delivery, MRI compatibility and occlusion detection. Medtronic is aiming to direct the new and improved pumps to support European patients with Type I diabetes.
The new pumps from Triple Jump and the Mann Foundation may serve to balance out Medtronic’s insulin delivery portfolio, which was long been dominated by its wide range of MiniMed devices. That family of insulin pumps and infusion sets has been the subject of a handful of serious recalls since Medtronic put down $3.7 billion to snap them up in 2001.
Just this month, Medtronic expanded a pair of ongoing recalls for some of its MiniMed pumps. The recalls, originally initiated in 2018 and 2019, now concern nearly 500,000 devices in total, many of which have already been replaced or upgraded.
The older of the two stems from the risk that an unauthorized person could hack into the connection between a remote controller and a MiniMed 508 or MiniMed Paradigm pump, potentially programming the device to dispense too much insulin or none at all. The second recall is linked to a similar potential result but caused by a piece that locks the insulin reservoir into MiniMed 600 series pumps that has been found to be prone to breakage.