Medtronic's Artificial Pancreas Technology: Key to Diabetes Cure? - Analyst Blog

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In an attempt to reform the entire procedure of diabetes treatment across the globe, medical device major Medtronic plc ( MDT ) presented fresh data on its blood glucose sensor - MiniMed 640G system - at the 8th Annual Meeting of Advanced Technologies and Treatments for Diabetes (ATTD) in Paris. Following the news, Medtronic's shares rose 0.9% to eventually close at $78.79 on Friday.

Managing hypoglycemia and, in the process, preventing occurrences of rebound hyperglycemia are the biggest challenges that physicians come across while treating diabetic patients. Medtronic's recently launched MiniMed 640G system is the world's first insulin therapy system that manages one's blood glucose level by delivering insulin as per the individual's need, thereby acting like an artificial pancreas.

With this data presentation, management at Medtronic aims at promoting further evolution and subsequent commercialization of the long-awaited artificial pancreas technology. Currently, MiniMed 640G is commercially available only in Australia, while a launch in other markets awaits local approvals which are expected to be over the next few months.

Management believes in the commercial availability of the MiniMed system, which mimics the biological functions of a healthy pancreas, will allow diabetic patients to lead a healthier life with greater levels of freedom.

Apart from the aforementioned data, Medtronic also reported results of the first clinical study of its next-generation Hybrid Closed Loop system, representing a crucial step forward in the development of a fully automated artificial pancreas.

Medtronic's Hybrid Closed Loop system, based on the state-of-the-art technology of the MiniMed 640G system, can automatically control glucose levels with very little input from patients.

With an alarming increase in the diabetic patient population across the globe each year, Medtronic's diabetes business group is also flourishing. This business segment delivered a strong performance in the third quarter of fiscal 2015, with international revenue growth of 12%, of which 36% growth came from emerging markets.

We believe both presentations will further enhanced Medtronic's capacity to offer improved diabetic care to patients while also expanding its market access. This, in turn, will help the company earn more profits in the diabetes business group.

Zacks Rank

Currently, the stock holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other medical product stocks worth considering over the short term are Abaxis, Inc. ( ABAX ), Vascular Solutions Inc. ( VASC ) and Phibro Animal Health Corp. ( PAHC ). All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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