Novo Nordisk acquisition of Biocorp. A big deal in the Smartpen world?

On June 5th it was announced that Novo have agreed to acquire the holdings of the largest shareholder of Biocorp, a small french company that makes medical delivery devices and connected devices.

Mallya Pencap

They have been collaborating on the Mallya pencap (details in the images below) since 2021, and it is, according to the website, the only CE marked and FDA cleared device of its kind on the market.

Mallya Pencap
Mallya description
Mallya Features

But Novo already have a Smartpen, I hear you say. Well yes, they do, but it isn’t up there with the connectivity this offers. The Mallya uses Bluetooth for realtime connectivity, allowing better tracking of Insulin on Board, unlike the current connected Novopens, which are all NFC scanned to obtain the data. Additionally, these caps can be made to work with the other major drugs that Novo sells, widening the audience significantly.

Additionally, the competition, namely, Lilly, have released the Tempo platform, which includes their own app as well as a connected pen. While the pen is equally cumbersome to transfer data from, given some of the work they’ve done on automated insulin delivery, it’s possible to see a future where Tempo is offering dosing assistance. Novo relies on third party apps for this.

But that’s not what I think the interest is primarily about.

Biocorp’s other interesting product

Biocorp have a range on interesting connected devices, but if you’re in the diabetes world, then their Datapen is much more interesting.

If you remember back in 2020, Medtronic acquired probably the smartest available pen system at the time, inPen, which they’ve now launched under their own product line.

Biocorp have a product that, while not currently being set up for insulin, appears to steal a march on the inPen. What’s currently described as the “Datapen“. Details, taken from the website are shown below.

Datapen features

While the small print states that this is a product under development, given Novo’s involvement in Mallya, I’d be entirely unsurprised to see a version of this turn up as Novopen 7 or Novopen 8.

The features list suggests that it could be used with penfill cartridges, while the connectivity, which again is realtime Bluetooth, provides easy data transfer and realtime monitoring.

But perhaps the biggest standout here is the electromechanical injection mechanism. It suggests that the app on your phone collecting data could do a whole lot more.

Add to that the statement that it can carry dual chambered standard cartridges, and this begins to look very interesting.

So let’s take a step back to this article and use our imaginations once again.

Imagine the app on your phone as an MDI user with CGM and your carb entries, much like an artificial pancreas algorithm. Not only is it observing, the learning algorithm on board learns about your mealtime patterns and highs and lows. It also learns about the dosing you typically need.

As you approach a meal, you are notified that it’s time to inject, and to enter expected carbs, if you know them. The app sends the dose to your pen, and you simply stick it in and press the go button.

The same thing might happen with unexpected highs.

There’d also be an alert that it is time for your long acting insulin, which would be delivered from the same pen, with the dose preset by the app, and adjusted for glucose variation over the longer term.

In addition, this ability to preload a dose from the phone would make it far easier for those with visual or physical impairments to use a pen.

And of course, Novo has already worked on the Mallya for insulin and incretins, so there’s a wealth of knowledge to transfer.

Sounds interesting ….

I think it is interesting. I think it presents Novo with an opportunity to raise the bar in the MDI world.

Selling insulin and its delivery devices is changing. It’s no longer just about getting insulin into the user. It’s about optimising that process.

Smart pen users have already found them game changing. This could be even more so…

1 Comment

  1. That is very, very interesting. Almost a looped insulin pump with out the ‘pump’ bit!
    I’ll just sit here patiently with my hand up waiting for the clinic trials…..
    As always thanks for your insight Tim.

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