Roche partners with Senseonics, TypeZero on ‘artificial pancreas’

Medtronic's "artificial pancreas" uses a sensor that can be worn for seven days. Roche, TypeZero and Senseonics are working on a long-term version of the system.

Senseonics and TypeZero Technologies first tied up on “artificial pancreas” R&D in May, and now, Roche is getting in on the action. The trio will develop a long-term, closed-loop system for blood glucose control to be tested in the NIH-funded International Diabetes Closed Loop Trial (IDCL).

Senseonics’ Eversense continuous glucose monitoring system includes a sensor which is implanted under the skin of the upper arm. It lasts 90 days and measures glucose levels in the interstitial fluid and sends this data via a transmitter to a mobile app.

Under their original agreement, Senseonics and TypeZero would integrate glucose readings from Eversense with TypeZero’s inControl software to automatically adjust insulin delivery from a patient’s insulin pump. Now, Roche will bring its AccuChek Insight insulin pump to the system, Senseonics said in a statement. The system will be tested at three sites in Europe.

“The promise of automated insulin delivery systems is the ability to automatically and sustainably maintain tight glucose control while avoiding hypoglycemia. With this partnership, we are one step closer to bringing this promise to market and to significantly improve the everyday challenges of people with diabetes,” said Senseonics CEO Tim Goodnow, in the statement.

In November, TypeZero joined forces with Dexcom and Tandem Diabetes care to develop a closed-loop system for the IDCL trial. The system comprises Dexcom’s G5 glucose sensor and Tandem’s touchscreen insulin pump. While the current version of the system runs TypeZero’s inControl algorithm on a smartphone, the partners hope to integrate it directly in the Tandem pump’s touchscreen. The ICDL trial is running at seven U.S. sites in addition to the three in Europe.

Medtronic is the only company so far to snag FDA approval for a closed-loop device. Its hybrid closed-loop system is based on its MiniMed 670G insulin pump and uses a glucose sensor worn for seven days at a time. It automates basal, or background, insulin delivery, but still requires patients to manually request bolus insulin at mealtimes. The devicemaker rolled the device out to patients in its Priority Access Program last month and is working on a fully automated system for insulin delivery.