Tidbits from Insulet Earnings Conference Call

I listened to most of the conference call Wednesday held after the company announced fourth-quarter and full-year earnings. A few tidbits:

1. The new pods are proving to be more reliable than the old ones, at least in terms of communication-type issues because of the longer range.

2. They hope to have an integrated CGM product on the market by the end of the year.

3. New customers in the US are getting new pods right now. Shipments to existing customers should begin by the end of March. Existing customers will get a new PDM at no additional cost. With higher margins on the new pods, the company will recoup that investment in about four months.

4. The new pods/PDM use a conventional system for calculating insulin on board. This was a big point of contention with diabetes educators, as they didn't like having to learn and teach a second method of IOB numbers. Although the company still believes their system makes sense, they were fighting a losing battle for it.

5. An integrated CGM could open the product up to many more potential customers, as there is a real aversion to wearing two devices.

6. The smaller pods (one-third smaller and one-quarter lighter) could also have a big impact on bringing new customers on board.

Great Stuff! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Did anyone ask if the new cgms integrated pods will require changing the cgms every 3 days? I'm hoping somebody thought about that...
Thanks for the report!

Jim, thanks so much for this info.. Please keep 'em coming.

My 2 cents...
1. Good to hear
2. Can't wait.
3. I wonder if they'll find ways to push cost saving to us?
4. I'm all for improvement, so sad to hear this was stopped by some "old school" individuals. The educators don't have to live with Diabetes, we do! I'm upset about this...

What I heard was that they (insulet) wants to integrate the cgm sensor into the pod, which would mean a life which ends when the pump function does.

However.... the cgm sensor might (likely) will result in a larger pod, which may mean a longer insulin delivery capability. Who knows... sounded to me like they were pretty far from even announcing who the cgm partner is. When I started 4.5 years ago, the smaller pods were coming out "soon." LOL

hmmm very interesting. If they expect the integrated CGM/Pod o nthe market by the end of the year, they would have to have it submitted for FDA approval (or very soon!).

Unless they mean on the market in Europe...

I agree Jim thanks for sharing!

My perspective:
1. Also glad to hear, although I didn't have issues w/ the range of the current one, so not sure that I gain much (other than peace of mind?...although I'm sure it's great for parents w/ T1 kiddos running around)

2. integrated CGM sounds good but w/o listening to the call myself, I wonder if they mean just the head unit (the PDM) is "one device" and that we'll still wear two separate items on our body, or if they mean total integration w/ sensor and pump reservoir being one in the same. Perhaps your #5 lends itself to answering this question, that they are talking about "one device" on the body.

3. I would doubt we see any "direct savings pushed to us". I think their big push to get FDA approval on the 2nd gen pods was in part due to the increase revenue it would create (b/c it costs them less to make 2nd gen pods)...so I see it as a business-minded move, and not a consumer-based one.

4. I will have to listen to the call soon b/c it was my understanding that the "new method" WOULD include all IOB (so corrections AND meal boluses), which personally seems like a more beneficial (read: safer and more useful) method of calculating. I know the other pumps do this. So perhaps this "conventional method" they speak of is actually this all-encompassing IOB method, rather than their current PDM method that only accounts for correction boluses as IOB. I think that's the version that "the company still believes makes sense" (even though I personally don't think it does)...I also believe the all-encompassing method was the version that is now in Europe (and was my understanding that this was the version they'd be releasing here in the U.S). Maybe one of our European cohorts can confirm that this method is currently being used for us here?

5. Unless they are only talking about approval in some other market than the U.S., I don't see them making it to approval by the end of the year here for an integrated product...but that's just my perspective from the outside looking in...

See this article for info about cgm integration with an excerpt below (they HOPE to have a prototype by end of 2013)

"Insulet and this mystery company have spent the past year or more studying multiple sensor concepts to determine what could be the best product for the OmniPod platform. DeSisto says the concept is to create an 80-hour sensor that would last as long as the Pod on the body (since insulin stays stable for about 80 hours), and the patch pump would infuse insulin from one side while sensing glucose levels from the other.

They now have what they believe to be “a viable sensor option” and the hope is to have a prototype designed by the end of 2013, with possible human studies outside the U.S. in early 2014. They’ve tested the sensors in pigs and DeSisto says the results are promising, comparable to other existing CGM devices and traditional blood sugar checking. An actual entrance to market could be three or four years out, the Insulet execs said."

Funny as I was reading the beginning of the article (the part about "the other player has been developing new sensor technology for about eight years now and has been in the glucose monitoring business for much longer than that, so it’s “in the position to compete” with others in the CGM and pump market.") and all I could think was --holy moly is this Abbott!?
And then the article goes on the speculate the same thing :) Glad to know I was not alone in my thinking (despite no one confirming any of that information yet).

It will be interesting to see who the partner is when it's announced.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and share.

Although what's confusing about that is apparently Insulet is planning
to integrate a non-Abbott BG meter in the future pods. (Was it OneTouch ? )

Yes Lifescan OneTouch verio strips will be used with a future iteration of the PDM.
Here's a post about the press release (Feb 2012) of that PDM.

What's interesting is that at the time of that press release, Lifescan would be "the exclusive blood glucose monitoring technology integrated into the OmniPod PDM".
Perhaps there were later amendments to the contract or something?

Diabetesmine in its article says Insulet and Abbott agreeded in 2012-year-end to renew their agreement and keep having Abbott strips in the PDM. Don't know if they aim for a PDM choice between 2 strips ...

My understanding is that the three-day pod life has to do with preventing infection by moving the infusion site, not the capacity of the pod itself. I would expect that to continue.