The relationship between global pharmaceutical company Roche and digital diabetes management app maker mySugr has been growing for the past couple of years. First there was the investment, then there was the partnership, and now Roche is going all in and becoming the exclusive shareholder of mySugr.
Under the agreement, mySugr will continue to function as a separate legal entity, but will serve as the central point of Roche Diabetes Care’s patient-focused digital health services. In turn, the global footprint of Roche will be a boon for mySugr’s international expansion, but its expanded role will not limit any other projects or partnerships the digital health company may wish to take on.
“We remain independent – the mySugr team will still be calling the shots,” the company wrote in a blog post. “We’re still deeply committed to being an open platform. We integrate with the best medical devices and fitness trackers to give you the freedom to choose the setup you prefer most. This also includes devices which may directly compete with Roche.”
mySugr, which was founded in 2012, is now present in 52 countries spanning 13 languages. People with diabetes use the mySugr GmbH app and service for coaching, testing trips and automated data tracking thanks to integration with a wide variety of connected devices.
“We started mySugr to solve our everyday problems and simplify diabetes therapy through smartphones,” Frank Westermann, CEO and cofounder of mySugr said in a statement. “The mySugr team has filled a gap for over a million loyal users so far, and with Roche’s diabetes expertise and global network, mySugr will become an indispensable companion for a hassle-free life.”
While mySugr will retain its autonomy, it will enjoy the financial stability that comes with Roche. mySugr will expand its team in Vienna and San Diego and devote more resources to research and development, integrated devices and getting more insurance companies on board.
“Roche, a global healthcare pioneer founded way back in 1896, fosters a culture of innovation and has continued to reinvent itself over the years,” mySugr wrote in a blog post. “Through our long-lasting partnership, we had front-row seats to see the fresh strategy for a reinvented Roche Diabetes Care take shape. A strategy that puts those who live with diabetes and digital technology firmly in the center of their efforts. We realized right away the potential of putting mySugr into the heart of Roche Diabetes Care’s new 'patient-first' approach. It means that we, people with diabetes, will be in the driver's seat, supported by the global leader in diabetes therapy. We decided to embrace this responsibility and get ready for a new and exciting chapter – mySugr joins the Roche family to keep redefining diabetes therapy.”
The two companies have steadily taken their relationship to the next level since they first started working together. In March 2015, mySugr raised $4.8 million from Roche Ventures and iSeed Ventures. The company said at the time that this funding would help mySugr scale up its user base in the US and other other countries.
A few months later, Roche quietly launched its Accu-Chek Connect app, a diabetes management app that contains, among other things, a prescription insulin bolus calculator called Bolus Advisor. It received FDA clearance for the Android version of the app in mid-March and finally received clearance for the iOS version in early June, using the Android clearance as the predicate device. In April 2016, Roche and mySugr announced an integration partnership, allowing users who owned Roche’s Accu-Chek Connect meter to automatically sync blood glucose data to mySugr. And just a few months ago, mySugr presented real-world data and expanded its partnership with Roche, making mySugr work with next generation Roche meters and makes it easier for users to share data from mySugr with care providers via the Accu-Chek Connect Online platform.
“It is very exciting to take our successful partnership with mySugr to the next level as it will constitute an integral part of our new, open digital health ecosystem centered around the needs of people with diabetes,” Roche Diabetes Care’s Global Head Marcel Gmuender said in a statement. “We are passionately working to redefine the way diabetes care is being provided so that people with diabetes are not only seamlessly connected to their caregivers but can experience relief from their daily routines while spending more time in their target range.”