Ascensia Diabetes Care, the Swiss tech company originally formed a few years ago from a merger of Bayer Health’s diabetes division and Panasonic Healthcare, is officially moving into the CGM space via a partnership with Huzhou, China-based Zhejiang POCTech.
In the short term, the partnership will put an Ascensia-branded version of POCTech’s CE-Marked CGM in several markets by the end of the year. Longterm, Ascensia, which has been working on an in-house CGM, will co-develop a next generation product with POCTech.
“We have a CGM project ourselves, of course. We do work on CGM technology as much as we do on BGM technology,” CEO Michael Kloss told MobiHealthNews in an interview on the sidelines of the JP Morgan Healthcare conference in 2018. “But we said, at the same time as creating our own in-house program, we are looking at what’s out there, screening the market, and seeing if, together with our partners, we can be faster to market or actually bring different components together so we can design better solutions and commercialize better solutions.”
POCTech founder and president Dr. Yanan Zhang previously worked on Medtronic’s artificial pancreas project.
“I think they’re excited to team up with us and we are exciting because we have a team that for many years has already worked in this space and we believe this, together with our competencies in manufacturing on the PHC side, will be a really nice model to accelerate developments in the CGM space, or in the minimally invasive space for glucose market,” Kloss said.
Continuous glucose monitoring is a quickly growing and competitive space, especially in Europe where companies like Abbott and Senseonics tend to launch products first. Ascensia will be fighting for marketshare to some degree with those companies as well as Dexcom and Medtronic. But Kloss believes the company’s large existing business in traditional blood glucose monitors, as well as digital diabetes management technology, will help the company to compete.
“We believe that the three components between BGM and CGM and interconnected diabetes management, if we play this together, the help and support we’re giving to patients is maybe more relevant for them going forward [than a CGM alone],” Kloss said. “…You would say maybe we are not unique in this, but there are not that many companies out there that have an equally large patient-base currently to what we have.”
Ascensia isn’t yet disclosing in which markets its CGM will launch.
“For me today is a milestone, a cornerstone because … we’ve talked about our strategy for the last year and a lot of people said ‘That’s really exciting, so when are we doing this?’” Kloss said. “And in some ways today marks the day we’re not only talking, but doing things. And that’s exciting after only three years of having the company.”