Just one week after Abbott (NYSE:ABT) said it inked a deal with Bigfoot Biomedical to develop an automated diabetes management system, CEO Miles White told analysts that he thinks Bigfoot is playing an important role in the strategic change taking place in the space.
“It’s a fairly clever service and approach that I think will create, not just an alternative that makes the management of the disease or management of someone’s insulin easier, but I think the value proposition of it is going to be pretty compelling,” he said yesterday, referencing Bigfoot’s insulin delivery platform.
When David Lewis from Morgan Stanley asked if Abbott’s deal with Bigfoot signalled an interest in the insulin pump biz, White launched into a discussion about the strategic value of a service like Bigfoot’s.
California-based Bigfoot plans to market their artificial pancreas system as a service with a monthly fee – less than $1,000 per month, according to CEO Jeffrey Brewer. And that is particularly exciting, according to White, who reportedly said on Abbott’s earnings call that the cost of managing diabetes is a problem that needs solving.
“I mean the penetration of pumps or pumping relative to the market size of multiple daily injectors is really quite small,” he said. “The question is the value proposition. A lot of times, the reason it hasn’t penetrated further is, it might be too costly or viewed that way.”
“And I think what Bigfoot’s doing, if I could comment on it from a distance, because I’ve never had a conversation with them myself, is they’ve come up with a pretty unique value proposition that not only is good from the standpoint of the patient or even the payer, but also in general, in the cost of managing the disease for a diabetic. I think it’s a pretty interesting use of technology to make it simpler, easier and affordable.”
As for Abbott’s Libre device, White said that the deal with Bigfoot represents another way to boost the product’s reach. He added that Abbott’s sensor technology “has a lot of applications beyond how it’s used today,” but did not go into specifics.
White reported that 25% of the international sales growth in its diabetes care division was driven by its FreeStyle Libre glucose monitoring system.
When the collaboration was announced last week, Bigfoot said it plans to launch a pivotal trial using Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre technology in 2018 in the U.S. The FreeStyle Libre CGM is pending approval by the FDA.