Medtronic presented promising clinical data for its InPen, a smart insulin pen, at the virtual 81st annual American Diabetes Association Scientific Sessions. By integrating the InPen with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), patients with diabetes, especially non-pumpers, can better control blood sugar levels and reduce instances of hypoglycemia with data-driven diabetes management.

The InPen is a reusable smart pen system that tracks active insulin while delivering short-acting insulins. The insulin dose data are transferred wirelessly from the device to a smartphone app that can also receive data from a CGM.  By comparing glycemic outcomes for 1,736 individuals before and after using the InPen for 90 days with a CGM, the study researchers found a 2.3% increase in Time in Range (TIR) for people whose glucose management indicator (GMI) was more than 8% and a 5% increase in TIR for people whose GMI was more than 9.5%. Participants did not experience hypoglycemia during the study period. Additionally, using InPen improved insulin dosing decisions for those in the study. The participants had fewer total doses per day with simultaneously improved glycemic control. The latest real-world data by Medtronic is expected to increase awareness of the device for both patients and diabetes care providers.

According to GlobalData analysis, the insulin delivery market, covering insulin pens and pumps segments, was valued at $13.8bn in 2020. While the insulin pens segment controls more than 65% of the market, the insulin pumps segment is forecast to have a faster Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR), 7.3% from 2021 to 2030, compared to an insulin pens CAGR of 5.5% over the same period. Hybrid closed-loop insulin delivery, or an ‘artificial pancreas’, is considered a novel technology that is greatly driving the insulin pumps market. The system combines an insulin pump with a CGM and a computer programme to automatically deliver insulin throughout the day using real-time CGM data. For people who do not have access to, or desire to use, an insulin pump, the emergence of new technologies provides alternatives, such as smart insulin pens, caps and attachments, to improve diabetic management with massive data that can promote insulin adherence, optimise insulin dosage and minimise medication errors.

Over the past few years, larger medical and pharmaceutical companies have joined the competition in the emerging smart pen markets. Medtronic launched InPen last November soon after the acquisition of its original maker, Companion Medical. Currently, insulin manufacturers, including Eli Lilly, Sanofi and Novo Nordisk, either have created their own systems and products or have partnered with startup companies in the space to develop integrated smart insulin pen devices that are comparable to their current products. Smart insulin pens are expected to drive the insulin pen market to more than $16bn by 2030.