I had the pleasure of reconnecting with the Cellnovo team at the Australasian Diabetes Congress last month.
The Cellnovo insulin pump launched 12 months ago, with the availability of consumables on the NDSS eventually delayed by a month. The system consists of a small rechargeable pump that sticks to a velcro patch on the body, a very short line and an infusion set that sits within close proximity to the pump. The system is controlled wirelessly via a mobile handset. You can read more of my observations from last year’s launch here.
There were rumours circulating earlier this year around the system being unable to withstand the heat of the Australian summer. I was told that this issue was nothing more than a temperature sensor in the pump that alerted users when insulin was at risk of spoiling, such as during hot days at the beach (Tandem’s t:slim pump also contains an insulin thermometer). I believe that the system may have since been upgraded to address the uber-sensitivity of the alarms.
Last year Aaron Crook was the sole sales rep, travelling all over Australia where the demand took him. There are now several new additions to the team. I was pleased to meet a dedicated sales rep for Western Australia, who reminded me that we had met previously when she had worked for Roche (and shown me how to use the eject button on the AccuCheck Guide!)
Cellnovo will soon be rolling out a new handset to all of their customers. The upgrade features a larger screen than its predecessor, and is also much slimmer and sleeker to hold in my hands. I am told the primary reason for this upgrade is enhanced performance. The team are also in disagreement on its new colour scheme, which gets a thumbs up from me.
The upgrade has come at the expense of the test strip port that was built into the handset. For the Cellnovo customer who may not be too keen on attachment, the prospect of now having to carry a blood glucose meter may be a big deal.
For the time being, users will need to manually enter their blood glucose readings into the handset to use the bolus calculator. However I was told that the handset will soon be compatible with a variety of wireless blood glucose meters, meaning that readings will wirelessly transmit to the handset via Bluetooth.
I really like the idea of having a separate handset to control the pump. With the emerging integration of diabetes management into smartphone apps, phone performance and battery drain has definitely been very noticeable for me in recent months. It’s also good to know that I could leave my phone on my desk if I wish to.
Cellnovo may not sit in the ranks of Medtronic or Tandem, but they are clearly focussed on filling a gap in the insulin pumping market. There are many people who don’t wish to take up insulin pump therapy for the sake of attachment and pump lines and weight and complexity.
I feel that Cellnovo is the option that may get many to reconsider their feelings toward insulin pump therapy.
Disclosures: Diabetes Australia covered my travel, accommodation and registration costs to attend the Australasian Diabetes Congress. These are my own views, and not those of Diabetes Australia. My time, including the annual leave I took from work to attend, was my own.