The possibility to monitor glucose levels all the time is considered a "holy grail“ for patients with diabetes. What are Apple's chances?
Apple is entering the market for diabetes monitoring devices. Recently, a photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared where he wears the Apple Watch with a continuous glucose monitoring device. The possibility to monitor glucose levels all the time is considered a holy grail for patients with diabetes, and the recent rise in popularity of smart watches could enable that.
“It’s mentally anguishing to stick yourself many times a day to check your blood sugar,” he said. “There is lots of hope out there that if someone has constant knowledge of what they’re eating, they can instantly know what causes the response… and that they can adjust well before they become diabetic.”, Cook said at the University of Glasgow.
If the device comes to the market, this means that Apple Watch owners who are in need of constant glucose monitoring will need to replace the watch’s band with the new one to enable constant monitoring. Some earlier reports have also stated that the tech-giant is hiring biomedical experts and researchers already hinted at Apple’s ambitions to enter this industry.
The market for continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) has a high profit potential. According to some estimates, the industry is expected to reach $1 billion by 2024, and is currently dominated by established players such as DexCom, Abbott Laboratories ad Medtronic.
The devices for continuous glucose monitoring are quite expensive. For example, DexCom’s devices are priced between $730 to &1,200, while the Apple Watch has an average price range of $269 to $400. This means, Apple could eventually bring the price for CGM devices significantly down.
Currently, wearables are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Tim Cook said that the Apple Watch would now require FDA approval during the device’s launch, but he didn’t rule out FDA approval later. “You can begin to envision other things that might be adjacent to it – maybe an app or something,” he told The Telegraph.
The BGR report states that Apple’s strategy of using interchangeable smart watch bands will “make it easier for Apple to work with the FDA on approval of a medical device that the company could pre-announce, as opposed to letting a new Apple Watch leak months or even years in advance if it was to be submitted to the regulatory administration.”
Investors will probably support Apple entering the medical industry. Especially medical equipment companies do possess several features that give them advantage over other companies. Apple is famous for its patents, and medical companies who obtain a patent for their product can win substantial market share, and ask for a premium price. They also generate higher margins, which generates superior returns to the companies’ investors. Many countries, especially the U.S., are also facing an aging population, which makes many tech-companies entering the medical industry, combing technology and medicine to make life easier for patients.