There’s been a lot discussed recently about the Abbott Freestyle Libre and how the 4,000+ members of the Facebook group that is dedicated to it want to see it on the NHS in the UK. We already know it’s available on Swedish (and I think German?) insurance policies. Most of us liked it as it was a much cheaper way to get into Continuous Data recording, something that I’ve wanted for ages, when compared to the Dexcom system (and others) which were just too expensive.
And then we get something new, due in 2016! I’d been speaking to a couple of industry insiders on the topic of CGM type systems, and they had assured me that there was more coming in 2016. It looks as though that More includes the Nemaura SugarBEAT device. Now I’m not sure which play on words Nemaura are using here, but I rather like the idea of a root vegetable helping to monitor my blood glucose levels…
What is it? A simple patch that speaks Bluetooth to your phone (or a SugarBEAT reader) and that’s it!
They’ve a number of patents on the technologies involved and all of them look interesting – worth a google trawl and read if that’s your thing…
What’s important, of course, is that this product has been or is being clinically trialled, The data we have was published in October 2015 as an interim analysis of the ongoing trial amongst 540 patients, showing a MARD of 11.8%. This is in line with what we see from the Libre (at 11.4%), better than the Dexcom G4 and slightly behind the Dexcom G5, which quotes single figure MARD of 9%. In a system where lower is better, and MARD on test strips has an ISO standard of 15%, this is a very usable number.
On March 15th this year, they also achieved that all important standard, the CE mark. This means that they are effectively licensed for use across all European territories that use the CE mark. Even more interesting. It can only be a matter of time before this product starts to be marketed, both by the company via various advertising routes, and if the model that Abbott used is followed, trialling by various bloggers (to which I’ll put my hand up and see “Me, me, me”, although I’ve no idea whether that will have any effect!). Now the launch was supposed to take place in Q1 2016, so there have obviously been some minor delays, but potentially this means a launch will be sooner in 2016 than perhaps we think.
The market is very clearly there, the interest is piqued. The question on everyone’s lips is “What price point?”. Will they go in with something like the Libre (which is a top seller for Abbott, in spite of its price) or look at something different. If you look at the way the product works, it requires 30-odd adhesive patches a month, a transmitter of some sort and the watch/handset. The details are scant, but the idea doesn’t look like it would be any cheaper than the Libre. Having said that, the marketing material that Nemaura presented at the ROTH conference in 2015 suggested that competitor products were all “Much more expensive”…
So, the product itself? What is it? Well, after a bit of a Google, I’ve found what follows.
The technical basis on which this works is to use a current to pull glucose out of interstitial fluid and measure it as follows:
- Works by passing a mild current across the skin that is barely perceptible, or non-perceptible.
- This current pulls the glucose out of interstitial fluid, which is found just below the top layer of skin, into a reservoir in the patch.
- The patch contains a sensor, which measures the amount of glucose analyzed.
- An algorithm within the device converts this reading to a glucose concentration value.
- This reading is displayed on the device with sound and / or buzzer alert