Life Sciences Insight

Medtronic buys implanted infusion pump tech to develop new Type 1 diabetes therapy

Much of Medtronic’s work in diabetes this year has focused specifically on bringing new technologies to European patients—and its latest purchase continues this trend.

The medtech giant snapped up the intellectual property rights to implanted infusion pump technology developed by the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research, a medical device incubator based in Los Angeles.

The technology differs from other implanted pumps by upping the precision of insulin delivery and offering MRI compatibility and occlusion detection. Despite those upgrades, the resulting pumps are smaller and lighter than many other currently available insulin pumps.

Under the terms of their agreement, Medtronic and the Mann Foundation will work together to further develop the technology into a new type of implantable insulin pump. The device will aim to improve insulin delivery for people with hard-to-treat Type 1 diabetes, targeting European patients with the condition. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Medtronic and the Mann Foundation go way back: In 2001, the Mann-founded insulin pump and glucose monitor maker MiniMed sold to Medtronic for more than $3 billion, becoming the basis of Medtronic’s now-booming diabetes business.

The research org continues to be a promising partner for Medtronic, thanks to its extensive experience in building and commercializing implanted devices. The medtech incubator is responsible for developing one of just three cochlear implants cleared in the U.S., and its current portfolio companies include Axonics Modulation Technologies—a former Fierce 15 honoree and maker of an FDA-approved sacral neuromodulation implant—and Bioness, which develops implants to treat orthopedic injuries and was acquired by Bioventus in a $110 million deal earlier this year.

Elsewhere in the realm of diabetes, the Mann Foundation is currently developing artificial pancreas technology, combining an insulin pump, continuous glucose monitor and automatic dosage-adjusting algorithm into a single implanted device that will mimic the pancreas’s ability to regulate glucose levels.

The newest addition to Medtronic’s diabetes segment joins a handful of other diabetes approvals and rollouts in Europe this year. In April, the Dublin-based devicemaker debuted on the continent a new infusion tubing set that can be worn for up to a week at a time, more than double the average life span of other infusion sets.

The following month, Medtronic scored back-to-back CE marks for two more diabetes management devices: an updated version of its newly acquired InPen Bluetooth-connected insulin pen and the Guardian 4 sensor, which works either as a standalone CGM or in tandem with the InPen or a MiniMed insulin pump.