Kevin Sayer describes Dexcom‘s (NSDQ:DXCM) history as punctuated by “firsts” – its continuous glucose meter was the first to connect to a phone. Last year, the company’s tool became the first approved by the FDA as one from which a patient with diabetes can make insulin dosing decisions.
When Sayer took the helm as president & CEO of Dexcom in 2011, he was no stranger to the diabetes space. He served as the CFO of MiniMed from 1994 until it was bought by Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) in 2001, at which point he joined the medtech giant’s diabetes business.
“I’ve always felt that continuous glucose monitoring is what really unlocks the door to the best possible outcomes you can have in treating diabetes across the board and those convictions have only increased as we’ve developed our technology here at Dexcom,” Sayer told Drug Delivery Business News. “The technology is so much better than what it was before and has the potential to be even much stronger than what it is now.”
The company’s CGM technology includes a small sensor that measures glucose levels, a transmitter that fits onto the sensor, sending data wirelessly to a device, and a small receiver or compatible smart device.
The G5 Mobile CGM system is the first completely mobile CGM and sends readings to a user’s smart phone every five minutes, according to Dexcom.
“What we are, probably more than any other company, is literally the absolute collision of technology and healthcare,” Sayer said.
Just last week, the company launched a public API that allows 3rd-party developers to connect patient-authorized continuous glucose monitoring data into software apps.
The data-sharing platform is designed to make use of the blood glucose data produced by Dexcom’s CGM systems. Companies, including One Drop, have begun accessing the API and others in the U.S. can register online, the company said.
“The API is a step in providing an open source of data to others. One of the things we realize, as a company that’s grown rapidly and added a number of employees and evolves technology quickly, we can’t do everything,” Sayer explained.
“This will give us the ability to watch and to learn and to look and see what solutions our patients like best.”
Dexcom has created a developer portal, according to Sayer, where they grant certain levels of access to the company’s collection of retrospective blood glucose data. An outside party could have trial access, for example, where they can “play in the data sandbox,” Sayer said.
The company has tried to come up with an array of standard agreements to provide to third parties once they’ve been vetted by Dexcom, Sayer explained, so that they don’t wind up having to negotiate deals unique to each party.
There are three groups that Sayer pointed towards as finding Dexcom’s data useful: patients and caregivers, physicians and payers.
“A healthcare practitioner could merge a patient’s data into their practice and be more efficient in treating their patients,” he said. “I think it could be helpful across the board and it gives us a tool to grow and expand and not have to do all this stuff ourselves.”
Dexcom’s products generate a lot of data. But Sayer said the company has always tried to be intentional with how its technology interprets, analyzes and connects the patient to their data.
They aim to make devices that provide a meaningful benefit to the patient, he said, which requires a deep understand of what a patient actually wants.
“From a scientific perspective you can come up with every bell and whistle imaginable but if the patient doesn’t use it, it’s not meaningful. It might even make their lives better. We can alert you every 30 seconds as to what’s going on, for example, with your glucose. That’s not not meaningful to a patient – that’s annoying,” he said.
“I think one of the most meaningful applications we’ve done here is we enabled patients to be able to get the data directly to their smartphone and then share the data from their smartphone with others. When you look at our population of pediatric patients, if you’re a parent and you send your six year old child to school with Type I diabetes, the fact that you can watch their glucose data all day long from home and be alerted if something’s gone wrong, the level of stress that alleviates from a parent’s life isn’t measurable by any amount of dollars.
“I’ve had parents run up to me and say ‘I wouldn’t have ever let my child go to college if we wouldn’t have had this. I’d have made him stay home.’ We’ve had other parents come up and say ‘My child went on their first date. I wouldn’t let him go before,'” Sayer said.
“We give patients what they want and we give them solutions that make it easier for them to take care of themselves. That leads to a successful business.”