The transaction remains subject to customary closing conditions and the companies declined to disclose financial terms. They expect it to close in the third quarter of 2023.
Abbott has a longstanding relationship with Bigfoot going back to 2017. The medtech giant even led a financing round for the company back in 2020.
Bigfoot develops the Bigfoot Unity smart insulin management system. The FDA-cleared Bigfoot Unity platform aims to simplify continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and the data they produce. It features a smart insulin pen cap, which takes data from a CGM and informs the patient exactly how much insulin they need.
The Bigfoot Unity system works exclusively with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre technology. It includes a customer smartphone app connected to a cloud-based online portal used by healthcare providers to support patients. The system works with the FreeStyle Libre 2 sensors and all major brands of disposable insulin pens offered in the U.S.
“The acquisition of Bigfoot Biomedical will combine two leaders in different aspects of diabetes care: continuous glucose monitoring and insulin dosing support,” said Jared Watkin, SVP of Abbott’s Diabetes Care business. “Bringing our companies together will allow us to further develop connected solutions for making diabetes management even more personal and precise.”
More about Bigfoot Biomedical
Earlier this year, Bigfoot Biomedical CEO Jeffrey Brewer discussed the future of the company with Drug Delivery Business News. He said at the time that the company centered its focus to develop a system around a CGM. That CGM — Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre — talks to the pen cap and tells users what to do.
“That’s the kind of simplicity I think people need,” Brewer said. “That’s what we’re focused on.”
Bigfoot Biomedical launched Bigfoot Unity in some U.S. states just over two years ago. Brewer last year called it a “transformational attempt” to simplify CGMs and the data they produce.
He said the goal has always been to bring the company’s technology to a much larger population of people, because that’s what’s needed. The company even had talks ongoing with Dexcom to potentially integrate another market-leading CGM with Bigfoot Unity. However, being acquired by Abbott may just aid that cause.
“Bigfoot Biomedical is the first company to design, develop and deliver a novel insulin delivery solution built around continuous glucose monitoring,” Brewer said today on the Abbott acquisition. “We selected Abbott as our CGM partner because both companies share a vision to provide simple, affordable and easy-to-use tools for people with diabetes. We look forward to continuing to innovate together and to the scale Abbott can provide, bringing Bigfoot Unity to as many people who may benefit.”
The analysts’ view
BTIG analysts Marie Thibault and Sam Eiber maintained their “Buy” rating for Abbott, saying they weren’t surprised by the deal.
They view the strategic tuck-in “favorably,” as it could accelerate Bigfoot Unity’s adoption for multiple daily injection (MDI) diabetes patients. Recent contract wins for Bigfoot further bolster the deal, along with positive data presented at the American Diabetes Association conference.
“If reimbursement is more widely established in the U.S., the integrated ecosystem could drive some share shift from competitive systems toward Libre among those on MDI interested in smart pens,” the analysts wrote. “We acknowledge GLP-1s remain a long-term risk for the diabetes tech space, but continue to see a role for CGMs and insulin pens. We see this acquisition as a vote of confidence from ABT in the future need for insulin.”
Abbott’s acquisition of Bigfoot is the latest in a busy M&A period for diabetes tech
The diabetes tech space has been full of movement on the mergers and acquisitions front in recent months. Bigfoot itself played its part before this acquisition, buying an insulin titration algorithm developed at McGill University. The company also sold off insulin pump patents to Insulet to focus on Bigfoot Unity.
Insulet then made a play for the assets of Automated Glucose Control, an insulin delivery technology developer. It doesn’t end there, though.
Medtronic made waves with its planned $738 million acquisition of wearable insulin patch pump maker EOFlow. Meanwhile, Novo Nordisk entered into negotiations over a controlling stake in Biocorp, a maker of drug delivery devices including insulin pen add-ons.
Elsewhere, Tandem Diabetes Care made two major acquisitions. First, it bought infusion technology developer Capillary Biomedical for an undisclosed amount. Then, it completed its acquisition of AMF Medical, maker of the Sigi insulin patch pump.