French drug maker Sanofi AG (SNY) and Paris-based healthcare software maker Voluntis announced a non-exclusive agreement to deliver digital insulin titration solutions to help type 2 diabetics better control the disease. (See also, Sanofi Gets FDA OK for Diabetes Drug Soliqua.)

The deal builds on an existing relationship between the two companies, and banks on combining Sanofi’s established expertise in diabetes treatment and Voluntis’ experience in building companion software. Sanofi and Voluntis have a longstanding relationship dating back to 2011, which began with the development of Diabeo, a software that helps adult diabetic patients manage doses for their basal and bolus insulin.

Mobile App-Drug Monitoring Combination

Since then, Voluntis has built and secured necessary approval for Insulia, its medical device that provides dose advice and alerts through mobile apps and web-based interfaces.

Under the new agreement, Sanofi and Voluntis will run pilot programs based on a prescription-only smartphone app for managing type 2 diabetes. The smartphone app will improve the decision-making and self-management of type 2 diabetes for people treated with basal insulin, and will enable remote monitoring by the supervising teams.

The integrated system will work with Sanofi’s bestselling diabetes drug Lantus, and aims to help patients taking Lantus by offering a better control mechanism on their blood sugar levels. Sanofi and Voluntis will launch pilot programs using mobile phone application in North America and select European cities this year. The program application had secured clearance from the U.S. Food And Drug Administration (FDA) and the CE mark last year. Voluntis clubbed its Insulia device to the Livongo Health’s diabetes management service in a similar agreement it signed last month.

“Digital therapeutics allow manufacturers and payers to check whether agreed value metrics have been achieved and help to lower costs without compromising on patient outcomes and access. They ensure that prescription medications deliver the effects for which they were brought to market,” said Voluntis Chairman Eric Elliott.

Amid declining sales of Lantus the last few years, Sanofi is attempting technological collaborations to boost Lantus usage to help maintain its market share. Sales of Lantus dropped 12% in 2016, which followed an 11% decline in 2015.

In late 2016, Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk (NVO) secured approval for Xultophy, which is expected to hit U.S. markets soon. It is estimated to generate annual revenues of $1.2 billion in 2021. (See also, Flat Prospects for Sanofi in the Near Future?)

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