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[IP] MiniMed 1999 Annual Report

As a shareholder, I just received MiniMed's annual report.  In it, there
are a few items that should be of great interest to this list:

1) Continuous glucose sensor.  While it is not currently available to
consumers, MiniMed appears committed to making it widely available to
diabetics.  Apparently, data from physicians indicates that having
access to 24-hour glucose readings can revolutionize diabetes care.  As
a result, they are building a new, automated manufacturing facility on
the grounds of their new headquarters (Northbridge, CA?) that will be
devoted exclusively to sensor manufacturing.  By next year, they expect
to be producing three million sensors a month - which seems to me an
enormous number.

   If they're right, the continuous sensor will be a great boon to all
of us pump users.

2) Pre-filled insulin reservoirs.  MiniMed has arranged to buy Humalog
insulin from Lily in crystal (bulk) form and will be offering pre-filled
reservoirs to pump users next year.

3) Closing the loop.  MiniMed also appears committed to realizing the
dream of a closed system of insulin delivery -- a combination of some
form of the continuous glucose sensor mated with an implantable pump --
by which the correct amount of insulin will be delivered to the patient
according to his blood glucose level.  It will be similar to the
external pump but implanted under the skin of the abdomen in an
outpatient surgical procedure.  Quoting the report:

   "The implantable pump delivers a basal rate of insulin, with larger
bolus doses delivered before meals, and is controlled by  hand-held
communicator...  Insulin delivered into the peritoneal cavity...is
rapidly and predictably absorbed, and may be particularly well suited to
patients whose diabetes is difficult to control.  The...pump is designed
so that insulin refills can be performed during simple office visits
every three months.  For a patient, this can mean going from four
injections per day to four injections per year.

   Known as the "MIP-XL. Model 2007," it has "an extended battery life
and an anticipated longevity of about ten years for a typical Type I
patient."  It has already been approved for commercial distribution in
the European Union, beginning February 2000.  However, "sales will
remain limited in Europe until the specially high-concentrated insulin
developed by 
Aventis (formerly Hoechst) is approved, which is not expected before
2001 at the earliest." There are about 700 patients already using the
implantable pump, MiniMed says, on an experimental basis.

   The pump is being developed by MiniMed's affiliate, the Medical
Research Group, also in California.

   If you wish more information, the company usually posts its annual
report on its website, but the 1999 report is not there yet.
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