New insulin pen aims to keep patients healthier, make docs’ jobs easier

A major problem cardiologists face when treating diabetic patients is getting them to adhere to treatment programs. With many patients quitting suggested treatment within weeks and months, physicians are constantly looking for methods to help keep patients on track.

Two startups on opposite ends of the country have teamed up to deliver an insulin pen and adherence program. Using Bluetooth technology and remote physicians, the pen collects data on glucose levels and insulin injections, and it can treat both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

The pen, branded the Gocap, is a product made by Common Sensing, a medical device and technology company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, founded in 2012. To bring its pen to life, it partnered with Welkin Health, a software company in San Francisco that built the configurable software that transports data from the pen to physicians, said James White, the president and co-founder of Common Sensing, in an interview with Cardiovascular Business.

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The Gocap collects data and sends it in real-time to remote providers who can reach out to patients if they see something abnormal or need to suggest a change in insulin dosage.

Other pens, like Companion Medical’s InPen, also have Bluetooth capabilities, but data is typically only sent to the user’s phone, not to trained medical professionals who can intervene when stats look abnormal.  

“What most people don’t realize is that success with diabetes doesn’t really happen in the clinic anymore; it happens at home,” White said. “And most people, studies have shown, are currently unable to use insulin at home to meet their goals.”

Common Sensing has been testing Gocap in a clinical study since October, and because results showed that it in fact helped keep diabetic patients on track with their treatments, they are bringing the product to market in March.

“Patients don’t really know if they should be adjusting their dose or if they’re doing things correctly, and that extra hand seems like it will help a lot,” said Chase Hensel, the CEO and co-founder of Welkin Health, in an interview with Cardiovascular Business.

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The Gocap pen is currently Common Sensing’s only product, but they are exploring other conditions to treat using their technology, including fertility issues, human growth hormones, multiple sclerosis and oncology, White said.

“Anything that somebody has to use a disposable pin or syringe to inject is something that people have trouble using correctly,” he said. “It’s never been an easy process for people, but our product is really a support system for using these injectable devices at home.”

When patients see their cardiologist or endocrinologist for routine visits, they can bring their Gocap data with them and provide their doctors with a complete and thorough history of how they have been managing their condition at home.

“Every clinician we’ve talked to has said, ‘I love this product and I need this information, but I’m only going to have 10 or 30 seconds to intake that information because I’m so strapped for time,’” White said. “For the first time, they’re going to be able to see what’s going on at home but they aren’t going to personally have to commit the time to do that. We are.”