Industry Intelligence

The State of Diabetes Device Technology and Intellectual Property

Posted in Intellectual Property by Camilla Andersson on October 30, 2012

To serve a surging patient population, companies will need a robust product and intellectual property portfolio to maximise growth.

Diabetes mellitus has become a growing global worldwide healthcare concern. It is the fifth leading cause of death in the majority of developed countries and is becoming an increasingly larger issue in emerging economies. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates the prevalence of diabetes to be 366 million people worldwide in 2011, and projects the disease to affect 550 million people and cost over US$500 billion annually by 2030. UBM TechInsights, in conjunction with Espicom, a noted medical market research firm, recently completed an analysis that included not just a market overview, but also a deep dive into the technology and intellectual property (IP) associated with the state of medical device treatment for this growing epidemic.

The analysis focused specifically on medical devices, with exclusions for drugs, transplants/cell replacement and generic chronic illness monitoring systems. Even so, the expenditure on device technologies and related systems needed to address the diabetes pandemic will reach US$18 billion in less than five years. Key findings include:

  • Noninvasive monitoring and delivery technologies have yet to deliver consistent performance, as vendors continue to develop various approaches to a solution.
  • Discerning companies are leveraging intellectual property in the development of systems and algorithms to deliver more consistent performance to both caregivers and patients. Growth in software and algorithm development has been impressive: the number of grants and applications has doubled during the last six years.
  • Although a few large companies have a substantial share of the current diabetes device market, they continue to have large gaps in their patent and product portfolios, providing opportunities for potential disruption.
  • As an increasing number of diabetes patients and caregivers turn to more portable and consumer-friendly devices, companies will need a strong product and IP portfolio to maximise growth. This confluence of consumer and medical technology will prove to be a particular challenge to the medical industry because of the inherent cultural differences in the development of consumer and medical devices.
  • The possible development of an artificial pancreas using medical device technology remains just that—a possibility—because of technical, biological and regulatory issues.

The remainder of this article will focus on the technology and IP analysis results, providing a glimpse into past and future technology areas. To supplement the information presented around the IP analysis, TechInsights has an active teardown programme that has evaluated and analysed a number of the popular blood glucose monitors (BGMs), continuous glucose monitors (CGMs) and insulin pumps. Examples of the internals of some of those products will be presented as well as additional perspectives.


Figure 1: Diabetes patents timeline.



Establishing correlations

A framework was devised to partition the problem into manageable segments that would facilitate an analysis of the products and technologies associated with diabetes. This approach resulted in 17 categories ranging from simple blood tests to an artificial pancreas. The IP, more specifically the patents, associated with each of these partitions was then collected, assessed and evaluated for relevance to the category. Finally, the technical and IP analyses were correlated against the marketing assessment, permitting a top-to-bottom connection between the companies, products, technology and medical device IP associated with the monitoring and treatment of diabetes.

A fairly generic search of diabetes-related patents in which the keyword diabetes was found in the patent claims generated more than 100,500 patents with patent activity beginning as early as 1969. The top 10 categories by International Patent Classification (IPC) code are all essentially drug-related patents and account for more than 51,000 of them. A screening process, including limiting the data set to medical device patents, resulted in almost 5900 unique patents (the data set) that were placed into the technology subcategories for individual review and analysis. Before diving into the details of one of these categories, a look at some of the characteristics of the overall data set is in order.


Figure 2: BGM and test strip top assignees (Green—further analysis in report). 

 The timing and distribution of the priority dates for the 100,000-plus patents associated with diabetes are detailed in Figure 1. The late 1990s saw a dramatic increase in the number of patents, with a peak occurring in 2005. This rapid increase followed a long period of stasis and very slow technology adoption from the development of long-acting insulin in the 1940s to the 1980s. The advent of small BGMs in the 1980s accelerated testing by the individual patient, providing a more efficient method of monitoring and treating this chronic illness. These events also prompted the development of specialists who could focus on treatment of the disease. The first insulin pumps were created in 1979. They were large and had to be carried in a backpack and, consequently, were quite inconvenient. Finally, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial (DCCT) was conducted from 1983 to 1993, demonstrating that people who could manage their glucose level were less likely to contract long-term complications. Thus, a number of developments converging in the 1980s and 1990s spurred new thinking in the treatment of diabetes and triggered greater innovation across the technology groups. The peak in 2005 and 2006 reflects the large increase in innovation that had occurred during this timeframe with new products built on preceding technology. However, the drop in the number of patents since that time probably corresponds to several factors, including:

  • maturing of the technology that led to more incremental innovations in established areas;
  • a new plateau of tech and treatment options with new approaches becoming more efficient, profitable and sustainable in the long run for an ever larger percentage of patients;
  • general uncertainty around reimbursement issues.
 Figure 3: BGM and test strip—priority date by top assignees.

Emerging markets drive demand for SMBG
To illustrate how the integration of IP, technology and product teardowns can facilitate the setting of a strategic product development direction, one of the 17 technology categories will serve as an example. By far the most common form of blood glucose monitoring is self-monitoring blood glucose (SMBG). Currently, SMBG accounts for 97% of the diabetes monitoring market, as these products are widely reimbursed and approved, as well as relatively cheap and simple to use. These are the traditional finger-stick and blood test instruments.

 Figure 4: Abbott FreeStyle blood glucose meter.

Although a well-established market, growth in this area is being driven by strong demand in emerging markets, while new products that enhance ease-of-use, improve accuracy and facilitate data management and sharing are providing growth opportunities in the developed world. An analysis of this technology category reveals that many of the leading IP assignees also are among the leading product providers. Figure 2 displays the top 20 assignees in this category. While a number of them are also leading sellers of products in the category, it is interesting, as well, to see the other companies in this area. In addition, further analysis of the target area from a time perspective as shown in Figure 3 often can reveal not only where a company (or technology) has been but where it may be going.

As mentioned previously, a solid technology evaluation programme includes the analysis of a physical product. In the diabetes product space, UBM TechInsights has analysed products

 Figure 5: Inside the FreeStyle BGM.

ranging from blood glucose meters to insulin pumps and smartphone accessories. By integrating the market information, technology and IP with the product itself, a thorough picture of where things may be going begins to appear. Figures 4 and 5 provide a “look under the hood” of a popular BGM, the Abbott FreeStyle. However, the impact of the consumer upon the evolution of medical design can be seen in Figure 6, which shows the AgaMatrix iBGStar, a BGM designed to interface directly with an iPhone.

So what has this analysis indicated about the state of diabetes medical device technology today? Consumer demand for reduced levels of discomfort indicates a strong pull for noninvasive monitoring technology with a great deal of patent activity in this area. However, the commercialisation of minimally invasive or noninvasive products remains

a challenge. There are a number of active smaller companies in these emerging areas with potential for significant market disruption. We expect the large companies to be watching this space closely. While medical device advances will certainly continue and developments in monitoring technology of the chronically ill will make diabetes treatment more manageable, the promise of more comfortable and effective treatments through medical device technology continues to be a goal on the horizon.

Figure 6: AgaMatrix iBGStar blood glucose monitor.

The pace of fundamental development in the areas of monitoring and treatment of diabetes appears to have slowed while the overall market continues to grow as the prevalence of the disease increases. The emphasis today tends to be on patient compliance, driven primarily by ease of use, and consumer product influences, which is leading to devices that emphasise look and feel as opposed to performance. Finally, the ultimate medical device solution—the artificial pancreas—continues to be a much sought technology limited by technical, biological and regulatory issues that prevent it from being viable in the foreseeable future. In the interim, emphasis on disease management via improved monitoring and compliance will continue to dominate the device side while the search for biological solutions continues.



William Betten
is Medical Technology Director at UBM TechInsights,
3000 Solandt Road
Ottawa, ON K2K 2X2, Canada

Find more content on:
Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (6 votes)

Login to post comments

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Great article with excellent

Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information..

free software Thanks for the

free software
Thanks for the post and great tips..even I also think that hard work is the most important aspect of getting success

I would like to thank you for

I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well..antlers for sale

I see your blog on a big

I see your blog on a big forum and I stop by. Then, I find it more useful information. Please keep posting booth rental los angeles

Thank you for some other

Thank you for some other informative blog. Where else could I get that type of information written in such an ideal means? I have a mission that I’m just now working on, and I have been at the look out for such information.
Büroreinigung Hannover

I have read your blog it is

I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates. aqui

I can’t imagine focusing long

I can’t imagine focusing long enough to research; much less write this kind of article. You’ve outdone yourself with this material. This is great content.
Vera Bradley

Really that's impressive. I

Really that's impressive. I always love to come here, worth the time I spend in here. fl studio 11 crack

home owner warranty

I want you to thank for your time of this wonderful read!!! I definately enjoy every little bit of it.
home owner warranty

I really want to say thank

I really want to say thank you for the information you have shared. Keep writing these kind of posts and I will be your loyal reader. Thanks again...

Thank NIce

I have read your blog it is

I have read your blog it is very helpful for me. I want to say thanks to you. I have bookmark your site for future updates.
ashley madison database

Nice post mate, keep up the

Nice post mate, keep up the great work, just shared this with my friendz

I really impressed after read

I really impressed after read this because of some quality work and informative thoughts . I just wanna say thanks for the writer and wish you all the best for coming!.

home warranties reviews

This is also a very good post which I really enjoy reading. It is not everyday that I have the possibility to see something like this.home warranties reviews
home warranty service
home warranty ratings

best post

I love the standard writing as offered in this post, cheers to the author.
automatic vertical autoclave suppliers
Horizontal autoclave manufacturer

Oh, this is a magical post. It’s life the most majestic post there is on this planet right now. This is really good work from your side. I strongly recommend you keep doing this kind of work.

So obviously there are some

So obviously there are some problems with YouTube. It is not at all clear that humans are responsible enough to use YouTube properly. comments

You should investigate the

You should investigate the competition comparison of the journal. you'll be able to highlight it's fascinating. Your journal exploration/tour can broaden your conversions. meal planning on rebelmouse

Hello, i'm glad to scan the

Hello, i'm glad to scan the total content of this journal and am terribly excited and happy to mention that the webmaster has done a awfully sensible job here to place all the knowledge content and knowledge at one place. how to drop pounds on rebelmouse

This is such a great article

This is such a great article to read from you, mate. Without any doubt, this is the best thing that I've read in a long time. Thank you for constantly providing great stuff like this. john barban strategy on rebelmouse

I was looking at some of your

I was looking at some of your posts on this website and I conceive this web site is really instructive! Keep putting up..
Rinjani Trekking Organizer

Great tips and very easy to

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.

Only aspire to mention ones

Only aspire to mention ones content can be as incredible. This clarity with your post is superb and that i may think you’re a guru for this issue. High-quality along with your concur permit me to to seize your current give to keep modified by using approaching blog post. Thanks a lot hundreds of along with you should go on the pleasurable get the job done.
Social media marketing for business

I can see that you are an

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me. Mike Ramsey in local search

Thank you for another great

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information.
mount rinjani trekking

I can see that you are an

I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success in your business.
Salvation Diet Free Download

Appreciate it for this

Appreciate it for this awesome piece of content. This article is absolutely very informative and also helpful. I wants more articles like this in future.
GP Jobs

Thanks for this great post, i

Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future.
Canada Goose Coats UK

I am continually amazed by

I am continually amazed by the amount of information available on this subject. What you presented was well researched and well worded in order to get your stand on this across to all your readers.
amasuite review

I have bookmarked your

I have bookmarked your website because this site contains valuable information in it. I am really happy with articles quality and presentation. Thanks a lot for keeping great stuff. I am very much thankful for this site.krvni pritisak

In this case you will begin

In this case you will begin it is important, it again produces a web site a strong significant internet site: water treatment

0892 22 20 33 voyance

0892 22 20 33 voyance gratuite direct. Vous l'aimez ? Vous hésitez ? Parlons-en au 0892 22 20 33.

Vous avez le sentiment que la vie ne vous souris plus ? Chaque matin vous vois vous lever à contre-coeur ? Les doutes, les peurs, la fatigue vous empêchent de vivre pleinement votre vie ?
Que cela soit dû à des soucis d'amour, dans votre couple, au travail, ou bien des soucis matériels et d'argent, vous pouvez reprendre espoir, car de l'aide est possible.

Au 0892 22 20 33, rencontrez des voyantes et voyants en direct pour leur parler de vos problèmes. Après une écoute attentive, ils mettront tout en oeuvre pour déceler votre avenir et vous apporter les réponses sur ce qui vous attend. Ils sauront vous conseiller et vous guider sur le meilleur chemin à prendre pour redresser la barre.

Car avec des certitudes, la vie devient plus simple. Votre voyance gratuite direct vous permettra enfin de sortir du brouillard. La vie est trop belle pour laisser les problèmes prendre le dessus.

Reprenez votre souffle, reprenez le contrôle. La voyance vous aide, toute l'année, quand vous en avez besoin, nous répondons présent à votre demande au 0892 22 20 33. voyance carte

Interesting information I

Interesting information I haven’t been through such information in a long time.what is intermittent fasting

Thanks for taking the time to

Thanks for taking the time to discuss that, I feel strongly about this and so really like getting to know more on this kind of field. Do you mind updating your blog post with additional insight? It should be really useful for all of us.
Canada Goose Norge

Good post but I was wondering

Good post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit further. Appreciate it!
carry on

Thanks for creating nice post. Such a cooling post that is admittedly alright written. will be referring lots of friends regarding this. Keep advisingThanks for creating nice post. Such a cooling post that is admittedly alright written. will be referring lots of friends regarding this


technology and intellectual property (IP) associated with the state of medical device treatment for this growing epidemic.cccam server

Angel investors in India

I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog
Angel Investor in India
Fundraising platform in India
Angel investors in India

All the contents you

All the contents you mentioned in post is too good and can be very useful. I will keep it in mind, thanks for sharing the information keep updating, looking forward for more posts.Thanks..como conseguir dinero en gta 5

Anger Management counselling

I have to voice my passion for your sharpness in writing and giving acknowledgment to people.
Anger Management Groups
Anger Management counselling

This is very nice one and

This is very nice one and gives indepth information. Thanks for this nice article.
Dr. Robi Ludwig

It is great to see that some

It is great to see that some people still put in an effort into managing their websites.
​nivea balsam pod prysznic

Anger Management

Thanks for this great post, i find it very interesting and very well thought out and put together. I look forward to reading your work in the future
Anger Management
Anger Management workshops

Wow, cool post. I’d like to

Wow, cool post. I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real hard work to make a great article… but I put things off too much and never seem to get started. Thanks though.
Best Air Pistol Reviews

cours de theatre

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page
ecole de cinema paris
cours de theatre

stage de theatre

I thought it was going to be some exhausting old post
ecole de theatre paris
stage de theatre paris

This is a great inspiring

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information. Keep it up. Keep blogging. Looking to reading your next post.
Rinjani Trekking

Buy high pr backlinks

I just got to this amazing site not long ago. I was actually captured with the piece of resources you have got here. Big thumbs up for making such wonderful blog page
High Pagerank Backlinks
Buy High Pagerank Backlinks
Buy high pr backlinks