In growing diabetes market, Sanofi looks beyond iPhone for mobile glucose testing

When Sanofi ($SNY) began work on its mobile iBGStar glucose monitor three years ago, Apple's ($APPL) iPhone was the dominant smartphone on the market. And last year the French drug giant released the glucose monitor only for iPhone and iPod Touch devices, PMLive reported. Yet Sanofi is reassessing its platform strategy for the iBGStar product after several years of rapid change in the smartphone market.

"We need to be more device agnostic, so our monitors can work on more platforms and offer more functionality," Jason Lovatt, Sanofi U.K.'s brand lead for blood glucose monitoring, told PMLive in June.

Sanofi has released multiple mobile options, including iBGStar and apps, for diabetes patients in recent years with more on the horizon. The products offer both helpful tools for patients as well as digital marketing vehicles for the company, which is one of the world's top providers of diabetes drugs, including the blockbuster insulin Lantus. Now Sanofi wants to increase usage of iBGStar, which had a successful launch last year, in part by offering the technology on other smartphone platforms.

This makes sense. Sanofi fails to reach most of the global diabetes market with iBGStar glucose monitor as an Apple-only device and app. The vast majority of the world's 371 million diabetics lived in low- to middle-income countries, the International Diabetes Federation reported in 2012. Apple's iPhone is expensive for consumers of modest means, which is one of the reasons why rival products from other players have been taking market share away from the tech giant.

Gartner reported last month that Apple's share of the global smartphone market fell from 18.8% in the second quarter to 2012 to 14.2% at the end of the same quarter this year. Meantime, Samsung, LG and Lenovo are growing their shares of the market.

So expect a future release of Sanofi's iBGStar to work seamlessly with smartphones from Apple as well as those from Samsung, which uses Google's ($GOOG) Android software for mobile phones, and potentially other platforms as well.

- check out PMLive's interview