As Johnson & Johnson continues to move out of the diabetes business, the company has sold its Calibra product (marketed as OneTouch Via, but never launched) to CeQur, a 10-year-old company working on a similar insulin-delivery wearable. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but CeQur has acquired an exclusive worldwide license for the technology.
“They’re divesting out of the diabetes market and that’s what led us to seek out this asset,” Jay Warner, CeQur’s SVP of commercialization, told MobiHealthNews. “We knew they had Calibra in their portfolio and we knew it matched well with our product. And so we decided to go after it.”
CeQur is close to deployment on its main product PAQ, a three-day wearable insulin pump that supplies both basal and bolus insulin to people with Type 2 diabetes. The device from Calibra Medical, which Johnson & Johnson acquired in 2012, is a similar product but different in two key ways: it delivers only mealtime bolus insulin and it’s already FDA-cleared, allowing CeQur to go to market with it much sooner.
“Some people with Type 1 have to change their basal rate daily, [for instance] because they exercise one day and not another day. If you’re altering your basal rate the PAQ isn’t right for you because the PAQ has a fixed basal rate. So for that population, the Calibra product’s ideal,” Warner said. “Calibra also adds a simpler transition. There’s 3 million people on basal alone and many of those people really need to be on basal-bolus, but they’re avoiding it because they don’t want to inject in public, they don’t want to go into what they call the ‘second injection burden.' And that’s where Calibra is a great way to start patients on a product.”
Both products are designed to help reduce the stigma and inconvenience associated with mealtime engagement.
“During mealtime the patient is able to actuate the buttons to release what we call a bolus injection of insulin. So very discretely, very simply, every time they press the button they get a two-unit insulin dose,” Robert Farra, CEO of CeQur, told MobiHealthNews. “… A person can do that when they’re among friends, at work, at a restaurant, in a conference room. It really doesn’t matter. They don’t have to excuse themselves and go into a private location to receive their bolus dose of insulin. It happens very discretely and that’s one of the key advantages of our product.”
The PAQ device includes a messenger unit that tracks how long the user has worn the device and how much insulin is left in it. The company is working on adding wireless connectivity into that unit. CeQur plans to submit PAQ for FDA clearance in Q4 2018.
But the company hopes to introduce the Calibra product, which was promoted and announced by Johnson & Johnson in 2016 but never launched, in Q2 2019. CeQur plans to re-brand the product, giving the never-launched product its third name: it began its life as Calibra Finesse before being renamed OneTouch Via when Johnson & Johnson acquired it.