Sanofi, Medtronic form alliance to develop diabetes drug-device combinations

Sanofi and Medtronic announced that the companies signed a memorandum of understanding to form a global strategic alliance that will initially focus on developing drug-device combinations and care management services for patients with type 2 diabetes. "Based on the success of the two initial priorities, [Sanofi and Medtronic] may explore other areas for potential collaboration," the companies said.

The collaboration, whose financial details were not disclosed, aims to pair Sanofi's insulin portfolio and drug development abilities with Medtronic's expertise in insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring in order to simplify insulin use and improve treatment compliance. Further, Sanofi and Medtronic stated that the alliance will be structured as an open-innovation model, "leveraging the capabilities, as well as the human and financial resources, of both companies." Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher remarked that the French drugmaker envisions "our diabetes franchise as a growing franchise even beyond [next year's] patent expiry of Lantus (insulin glargine) and this [partnership] will be an element which helps continue that growth," though he declined to provide detailed forecasts.

With regard to the novel drug-device combinations, the companies said priorities will include developing new form factors that are "affordable, convenient and easy to-use," with a particular emphasis on improving the management of type 2 diabetes in patients unable to achieve glucose control even with multiple daily insulin injections. Meanwhile, care management services will be delivered through a programme designed to guide patients with type 2 diabetes who are failing to achieve disease control on oral therapies through the initiation phase of insulin treatment.

Pascale Witz, Sanofi's executive vice president of global divisions and strategic development, remarked that the collaboration will allow the French drugmaker to "tap into technology advances that aim to create holistic treatment solutions." Sanofi and Medtronic already have an agreement in Europe covering an implantable insulin delivery system for type 1 diabetes and plan to add this to their alliance, the companies said.

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