Two Swiss companies, Debiotech SA and Valtronic SA, have entered into an exclusive partnership agreement regarding the manufacturing of the electronic controller unit for Debiotech's novel insulin JewelPUMP. Representing the most advanced use of microfluidic MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology in diabetes treatment, the watertight pump can be mounted on a disposable skin patch to provide continuous insulin infusion and is controlled by a dedicated smartphone device incorporating a BGM (blood-glucose meter), thus enabling substantial improvements in the treatment efficiency and the quality of life of diabetic patients.
The highly miniaturized disposable insulin pump combines Debiotech's expertise in insulin delivery systems with Valtronic's experience in manufacturing high quality and ultra-miniaturized electronic devices.
“The collaboration with Valtronic in Switzerland and in the US is an integral part of our objective to provide the best product manufactured by the best companies in the world,” states Dr. Frederic Neftel, president and CEO, Debiotech. “We are now engaged in a large scale production effort to make sure the JewelPUMP will be made available to every diabetic patient in the soonest possible time to ensure a better Quality of Life, while also improving reliability and performance of insulin delivery with a pump.”
“The collaboration with Debiotech on the JewelPUMP fits our strategy extremely well of participating in the most exciting medical device products, while contributing to patient safety and therapeutic efficacy,” says Martin Zimmermann, president and CEO, Valtronic. “At Valtronic we strive to bring our expertise to highly innovative projects like the JewelPUMP and ensure a full commitment and support to our Partner.”
“Since one year, we have enjoyed an outstanding work together with Valtronic to achieve the goal of making the JewelPUMP a reality for the diabetes community and this Agreement represents the natural outcome of such successful collaboration,” says Laurent-Dominique Piveteau, business development director, Debiotech.
“The development of the partnership with Debiotech and the continuous support to achieve the level of quality required to manufacture the JewelPUMP is an example of success for Valtronic and we are now proud to prepare for the product market launch,” says Alberto Bottà, assistant vice president principal client advisor, Valtronic.
The JewelPUMP is smaller, thinner, and lighter than currently available insulin pumps, while incorporating double the amount of insulin (5mL), and is a nearly invisible skin patch, which can be worn for a 7-day treatment. It is directly controlled by the patient from a dedicated cell-phone remote control device, which also serves as a telephone and a BGM (Blood Glucose Meter) on a secured Android platform.
The JewelPUMP incorporates a Microfluidic technology manufactured by ST Microelectronics, the world leading MEMS manufacturing company, to provide better control of the administered insulin doses, while detecting potential malfunctions of the pump to protect the patient further. The JewelPUMP is composed of a disposable pump-reservoir unit and an electronic Controller unit that can be used for up to two years. The Controller unit that will be manufactured by Valtronic integrates a number of functionalities, both for the operation of the pump unit and the highly secured communication with the remote smartphone device, as well as a large number of sensors and actuators (e.g. vibrator and acoustic alarm, temperature sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer and cannula detector).
- MEMS (Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems) technology exploits the mechanical as well as the electrical properties of silicon. In conventional silicon chips, electrons move within the static silicon. However, silicon also has several important mechanical properties: it is stronger than steel yet has a high elasticity. The techniques that are used to build silicon transistors can also be adapted to build microscopic silicon structures such as cantilevers, springs and even gears that are capable of physical movement, allowing the manufacture of highly miniaturized sensors and activators, using nearly the same semiconductor manufacturing technology that has produced affordable computers, communication equipment and automotive electronics.
- There are almost 280 million people affected by diabetes worldwide and the number is expected to grow to 350 million over the next decade due to population growth, aging, and life style. Without proper treatment, diabetes can lead to cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, and ultimately death. Diabetes is a leading cause of death in most developed countries. There are two types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes occurs most often in children or young adults and accounts for 5% to 10% of the diagnosed diabetes patient population. It is characterized by loss of the insulin-producing beta cells of the islets of Langerhans in the pancreas, leading to a deficiency of insulin. Type 2 diabetes, or adult-onset diabetes, accounts for 90% to 95% of diagnosed diabetes cases worldwide, typically developing in middle-aged adults. It is characterized differently due to insulin resistance or reduced insulin sensitivity, combined with relatively reduced insulin secretion. The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes is growing at a faster rate than that of Type 1 across the developed countries as it is related to the increase in obesity and aging demographic profile.
- There are today almost 500,000 diabetic patients using insulin pumps in the U.S., which represents almost 25% of diabetic Type 1 patients. In the next 5 years, the pump market is expected to grow at a CAGR of nearly 13% and by 2015, about 40% of diabetic Type 1 patients may benefit from pump therapy in the US. It is also estimated that about a third of diabetic Type 2 patients may also be treated using a pump.