Novo Nordisk and Roche' insulin pump collaboration gets EU thumbs up

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Roche's Accu-Chek insulin pump compatible with Novo Nordisk prefilled cartridge
Roche's Accu-Chek insulin pump compatible with Novo Nordisk prefilled cartridge

Related tags Novo nordisk Insulin

Novo Nordisk has teamed up with Roche to launch a prefilled cartridge for insulin pump users and says the system offers advantages over injections.

The NovoRapid PumpCart - a 1.6 ml prefilled insulin cartridge develop by Novo Nordisk and compatible with Roche’s Diabetes Accu-Chek pump system - received positive marketing recommendation from the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) under the European Medicines Agency (EMA) last week, and the firms are set to launch the product in Europe during 2014 and 2015.

The non-exclusive contract agreement “combines a long-standing experience in making NovoRapid in Penfill cartridges from Novo Nordisk and the competencies of Roche Diabetes Care in the development of market-leading pumps for people with diabetes,”​ Novo Nordisk spokesperson Marie Vedel Kessing told

"With fewer handling steps,”​ she continued, the product “is expected to make life easier for patients using a pump.”

Since Novo Nordisk began offering the first insulin treatment over 90 years ago​, injections have been the most prevalent delivery mechanism for diabetes sufferers, whether via syringe or, since the 1980s, in the form of an insulin pen.

However, Vedel Kessing told us insulin pumps held a number of advantages over syringes and, citing the American Diabetes Association (ADA), said pumps deliver insulin more accurately resulting in fewer large swings in blood glucose levels.

Furthermore, being attached to the body and automatically administering insulin, pumps eliminate the need for individual injections and give the user more flexibility about when and what one eats.

This publication also spoke with Diabetes UK who said the the Novo/Roche prefilled offering would be simpler and easier for users rather than drawing up insulin from a vial into the pump reservoir. Simon O'Neill, Director of Health Intelligence, told us: "We welcome any new products that make it easier for people with diabetes to manage the condition."

Inhalable and Oral Alternates to Pumps

One alternative insulin delivery mechanism is inhalable insulin. There was much interest from Big Pharma in such delivery in the late 2000s, but pipelines from Novo Nordisk​ and Eli Lilly​ drifted away following the failure of Pfizer’s Exubera​.

However, recent approval for Mannkind’s Afrezza may mean inhalable insulin is pushed back into the forefront of insulin delivery.

If this is the case, pumps would still hold the advantage, said Vedel Kessing, as “inhalable insulin is being investigated as a mealtime insulin, and will not be able to be used as a basal insulin.”

There are also efforts to produce an oral version of insulin to treat Type 1 diabetes from both Novo Nordisk​ and Israel-based Oramed​.

However, when asked how these efforts may effect insulin pumps Vedel Kessing said:

“Those types of products are currently not on the market,”​ Vedel Kessing said when asked how these efforts may affect insulin pumps. “For currently available treatments, insulin pumps present advantages as stated in the previous answer.”

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