Insulet was showing off its DASH platform, which is basically a locked-down Android phone that will eventually replace the PDM (controller unit) for its tubeless insulin pump. “Locked down” means the phone will have no other regular cellular capabilities or other apps available, nor will it have an integrated fingerstick glucose meter like the current PDM. It also means that users will basically be carrying around two smartphones — a lot to schlep, possibly confusing, and both requiring charging. On the upside, it will bring the long-awaited phone-as-controller functionality that lets users bolus and otherwise control their pump from a smartphone touchscreen.
The company announced an agreement with Ascensia (formerly Bayer) to connect the Contour meter to DASH via Bluetooth, which will use the readings to calculate and deliver the appropriate insulin dose. Insulet is still hoping for an end-2017 launch, depending on FDA consideration.
The Insulet folks tell us that DASH is an “interim step” to their full Pump+CGM closed loop system controlled directly from a regular (non locked-down) smart phone that they’re calling OmniPod Horizon — which they were also displaying via larger posters. We know from presentations at our own #DData17 event on Friday that the company is working very closely with the patient community in designing the new UI. They’ve even recruited a half-dozen members of the #OpenAPS DIY community to provide input. Horizon won’t likely hit market for another year-plus.
“But why wait to give users the ability to use a phone as the receiver? That’s an experience they want and we want to offer it as soon as possible,” says Alissa Heizler-Mendoza, senior director of advocacy at Insulet.
In related news, Insulet is investing $150 million to open a new manufacturing plant in Massachusetts, creating at least 200 jobs and accelerating their production capability. Great to see this company thriving!