In what is a nice complement to Dexcom's continuous glucose monitor, four year old company Insulet Corp. has a wireless insulin injector called the OmniPod. This privately funded company has raised $120 million in five rounds from a number of top name VCs. The management roster is populated with an pretty impressive list of medical device industry veterans. They got their 510(k) in January of 2005 (you can read the summary here).
The product was introduced at American Association of Diabetes Educators Meeting & Exhibition in Washington, D.C., last August. The OmniPod itself is a small white device that
is worn on the skin like an infusion set. The OmniPod integrates the infusion
set, automated inserter, and insulin reservoir, and delivers insulin according
to programmable instructions delivered wirelessly from a wireless controller called the Personal Diabetes
Manager (PDM). There's a great product over view here at DiabetesInControl.com.
There is no tubing connecting the OmniPod to the PDM, nor is there any tubing
on the pod itself. The OmniPod is worn comfortably and discreetly beneath the
clothing, and the PDM can be carried separately in a backpack or purse. Imagine
no snagging or tangling the tubing.
Filling the pod could not be easier. Think of how much spend time we spend
showing our patients how to get the bubbles out of the syringe and making sure
there are not bubbles in the tubing. You dont have to worry about that
anymore. Your patient simply injects the insulin into the pod and then the pod
actually primes itself removing the air, presto no bubbles.
The secret sauce in this system is the injector. Rather than try to squeeze a motor into the OmniPod to extend and retract, Insulet uses SMA (shape memory alloy) Wire Activation technology. Shape memory alloy metals are made
from combinations of two or more elements, exhibit hardness and elasticity
properties that change radically at distinct temperatures. SMAs
can be formed into a shape, and then set to
that shape by a high heat treatment. When cooled, they may be bent, stretched
or deformed (within limits) and then with subsequent moderate heating, they can recover some or all of the
deformation. Very cool.