Continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system-maker Senseonics has cut a deal with Ascensia Diabetes Care and its parent company, PHC Holdings, outlining commercialization and distribution of the Eversense product line over the next few years.
According to the companies, Ascensia now holds exclusive global distribution rights for the Eversense, Eversense XL and future CGMs. The duration of the agreement is subject to product launch dates and other factors, but expected to run through 2025.
In the U.S., Ascensia will begin joint marketing and sales of the CGMs with Senseonics within the next few months, and will be taking over full-time by Q1 2021. Ascensia will take on commercialization in certain European countries once the device-maker's existing distribution deals run their course.
Included in the deal is a sizable investment into the CGM company. According to the announcement, PHC Holdings has made an initial investment of $35 million in the form of convertible debt securities. An extra $15 million is also on the table upon the 180-day Eversense system's FDA approval, and would come in exchange for Senseonics convertible preferred equity.
What's more, Senseonics also announced a separate financing agreement with Masters Special Situations for $30 million, the terms of which were not disclosed. Taken together, these deals bring a total of up to $80 million in new debt and equity capital to Senseonics.
WHAT'S THE IMPACT?
While Ascensia is already a fairly entrenched player in the diabetes device market, distributing self-monitoring blood glucose devices to more than 10 million diabetes patients worldwide.
However, Robert Schumm, president of Ascensia Diabetes Care and diabetes-management-domain head of PHC Group, explained in the announcement that this arrangement will give the global company its first real foothold in the U.S. and European CGM markets. He said that his company is currently eyeing the U.S. launch of the 180-day Eversense product down the road, and is particularly excited by Senseonics' work on a 365-day sensor.
“This partnership is the next step in building a world-class diabetes care franchise for Ascensia, as we look to expand our business beyond blood glucose monitoring," he said in a statement. "We believe that the combination of our commercial expertise and infrastructure, alongside Senseonics’ product development and clinical expertise, will help to get the Eversense and Eversense XL products into the hands of people with diabetes who can benefit from them. Our aim is to work together to bring these highly effective technologies to more people with diabetes, therefore providing further choice in CGM for diabetes management."
From Senseonics' perspective, Tim Goodnow, president and CEO of Senseonics, noted that handing off distribution to an established partner will allow his company to focus its efforts on development of its future-generation products.
THE LARGER TREND
These commercialization and investment deals are appear to be lifelines for Senseonics. Earlier this year, the digital health company reported to its investors that it was low on capital and had temporarily cut back on new commercial activities in an attempt to reduce cash burn and focus on long-term success for the Eversense product line. In particular, its board of directors announced in early spring that the device-maker was exploring strategic financing alternatives that could have included a sale of the company.
Senseonics' good fortune also extends to its latest earnings report, in which the company described aggressive cost-reduction and operations-streamlining that cut net loss from $23.6 million (in Q2 2019) to $7.5 million. With the new financing agreements, Senseonics says it will be able to fund operations through 2021, and hopes it will be able to capitalize on new market opportunities in the meantime.
"Our collaboration with Ascensia represents a mutual commitment to penetrating the CGM market with Eversense and the next phase of growth for Senseonics," Goodnow said in a statement accompanying Senseonics' earnings report yesterday. "In addition, building upon our success with the [Medicare Administrative Contractors), CMS has included a national payment amount for implantable CGMs in the proposed 2021 physician fee schedule as a medical benefit, which could lead to access to Eversense for millions of Medicare recipients. We are very excited about the opportunity ahead of us.”