Type 1 Diabetes: Medical Device Launches, Part 1
A wide variety of diabetes medical devices have been launched in the U.S., as well as on a global scale, since 2017 onward. These devices include continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices, injectable pens, and Bluetooth scanning devices, among others. For the purpose of this research, we have analyzed three devices that were considered to be highly successful products in the diabetes market based on sales, revenue, and/or number of users. Specifically, we analyzed Companion Medical's InPen, Abbott's FreeStyle Libre, and Dexcom's G6 CGM. For each of these products, we utilized the product's website via its manufacturer, press releases, research studies, and medical news articles to depict how the device was launched from a marketing perspective, followed by how the item was defined as successful by its manufacturing brand.
Companion Medical — InPen
- The InPen was launched by Companion Medical in late 2017 as a smart insulin pen and the first Bluetooth-connected insulin pen on the market for both Type I and Type II diabetes.
- Companion Medical's InPen received FDA approval in the U.S. in July 2016, but didn't launch the product until December 2017. Details about the product launch were shared just two weeks prior in the #DData17 ExChange event at Stanford University.
- To help market the InPen, Companion Medical worked with Tenth Muse Design to define their audience, present the value of the product, and reach consumers more efficiently. Tenth Muse Design helped build a brand strategy for the InPen, as well as app design for the Bluetooth compatibility, and even digital/print marketing campaigns to advertise the pen, among other things 
- Key marketing points that were addressed in the product launch event and other marketing channels included:
- The InPen functions as both an insulin infusion pen and a portable, instant, and real-time tracking device.
- The InPen does not require users to wear a device on their body 24/7 constant monitoring, but rather tracks data for up to a year using Bluetooth technology. The pen would also cost users only $35 for an entire year upon being prescribed it by a healthcare provider.
- InPen is a reusable device that was also promised by its manufacturer to have future expansions and versions created with greater capabilities.
- The InPen was marketed as a "smart" pen system, during a time in which smart technology, especially geared towards home and simpler living, was also growing in popularity. To emphasize the pen's smart capabilities, its features for tracking insulin levels and giving recommendations were highly marketed.
- At its time of launch, the InPen was the only FDA-approved device of its type on the market for diabetes patients. The pen was also marketed as an option for any patient ages 7 and up, as well as being compatible with other diabetes devices, including the Novolog, Humalog, Dexcom G5/G6, and Fiasp.
- Another commonly marketed feature of the InPen was the ability for users to pair multiple pens through the device's app on mobile devices, share data collected from the pen, and even receive alerts on device stability, expiration, and refills.
- The launch of Companion Medical's InPen was considered to be a success by the company for a few key reasons. These included:
- The fact that the InPen was the first-to-market and only of its kind insulin device with an integrated diabetes management mobile app. 
- Medtronic, another pharmaceutical device company, is currently seeking to acquire rights to Companion Medical's InPen to maintain and increase market share. Companion Medical was also offered the opportunity, which they took, to receive upwards of $27.5 million in funding from K2 HealthVentures via a loan and security agreement to help with commercialization and product growth.
- It is estimated that once Medtronic acquired Companion Medical and their InPen, the device will bring in anywhere from $30-$35 million from sales of over 50,000 devices in 2020, which would be triple what the product did in 2019. 
- To further accentuate the success of the InPen, Companion Medical recently launched a new version of the device in April 2020, which included new meal therapy modes to help users count their carbohydrates, estimate what to eat and how much, and even the approximate dosages for each injection. In addition, the new pen offers users an optional active insulin display for more confident dosing side-by-side with more detailed insight reports.
Abbott: FreeStyle Libre
- The Abbott FreeStyle Libre was initially launched in the U.S. in 2017, but has been updated on an annual basis with new features that continue to impact the diabetes market. To ensure market success, Abbott ran a test drive for the FreeStyle Libre in 2015 to see how users reacted to and enacted with the device.
- The FreeStyle Libre device itself is a 14-day wearable, 1-hour warm up continuous glucose monitor (CGM) device the eradicates the need for daily finger pricks to monitor blood glucose and insulin levels. The product is sold at approximately $120/month for three sensors, in addition to a one-time purchase of $60 for the reader device.
- To engage a wider audience, the FreeStyle Libre was marketed as a solution to individuals suffering from both Type I and Type II diabetes. Around two-thirds of current users have Type I diabetes, and one-third suffers from Type II.
- Major points of interest that were portrayed in marketing efforts for the FreeStyle Libre device included (and still do include to this day):
- The device offers painless application with no daily finger pricks.
- Outside of the U.S., the FreeStyle Libre device has only a 1-hour warm up period and does not require a prescription to obtain.
- Scans for real-time glucose information can be obtained through clothing, offering a device that is less invasive, painful, and intrusive to user privacy than other continuous glucose monitors. The device is also waterproof so that users can shower and swim with it on.
- The FreeStyle Libre device is more affordable than other CGM competitors, offering users a low upfront cost and affordable monthly payments for continued usage.
- Success metrics that have indicated the great success of Abott's FreeStyle Libre device are largely monetary or focused on number of users. Such data points show that:
- Abbott had global revenues of $380 million during the first quarter of sales from the FreeStyle Libre.
- By Q2 of 2017 in the U.S., Abbott Laboratories sales from the FreeStyle Libre increased by 40% from Q1.
- By mid-2018, the FreeStyle Libre device had over 650,000 users, and the device was expected to and did reach over 1 million users by 2019.
- In a research study conducted by Creative Medical Research, the FreeStyle Libre device was reported by users to be accessible, empowering, and autonomous. These same users have reported that they check their levels with the device anywhere from 30-50 times a day because of its ease of use and accessibility to pertinent information in an instant.
Dexcom — Dexcom G6 Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) System
- The Dexcom G6 CGM device is a competitor product to the FreeStyle Libre that also did very well on the market. This device is an auto-applicator that places a sensor under the skin that can then detect and track blood glucose levels and transmit data to a mobile app.
- Primary differences between the Dexcom G6 and the FreeStyle Libre include:
- The Dexcom G6 sensor is wearable for only 10 days, while the FreeStyle Libre can be worn for 14 days.
- Both devices are completely waterproof and neither requires regular finger pricks or calibration.
- The Dexcom G6 is more expensive than the FreeStyle Libre, with an initial purchase cost of $299 for the transmitter and 3 sensors.
- The FreeStyle Libre has a 12-hour warm up period in the U.S., 1-hour warm up in other parts of the world, and the Dexcom G6 has a 2-hour warm up period globally.
- Primary focus points for the marketing initiatives of the Dexcom G6 referenced the following notes:
- The Dexcom G6 CGM device was clinically proven to help users lower their A1C levels, as well as reducing their risk for hypoglycemic incidents.
- The mobile app in which the Dexcom G6 device stores data from scans can be customized by users to create alerts and alarms for their glucose levels, in addition to offering users the ability to share their data with up to 10 followers.
- Dexcom operates in conjunction with CLARITY Reporting Software to provide users with detailed data on their blood glucose and other related values to help them successfully and easily manage their diabetes.
- The Dexcom G6 device has been approved by the FDA for use in children ages 2 and up.
- The transmitter device that is part of the Dexcom G6 has been created to be a third of its original size, has a three-month battery life, and includes built-in Bluetooth connectivity to reduce the need for manual scans. The transmitter automatically sends updates to users mobile app every 5 minutes so long as the mobile device is within 20 feet of the transmitter.
- The Dexcom G6 CGM device was considered to be a success by its manufacturer, as it produced $171.2 million in global revenue in Q1 2017, which was a 31% increase from the previous year.