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FDA Approves Medtronic's Artificial Pancreas

Zacks Equity Research

Shares of Medtronic Inc. (MDT) rose 0.5% following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (:FDA) approval of its MiniMed 530G, better known as the “artificial pancreas”. The device is designed to suspend insulin delivery in diabetes patients when blood-sugar levels are very low.

This is good news for diabetic patients over 16 years of age because lower than normal blood sugar level or hypoglycemia could be fatal for them. They should now be grateful to Medtronic and its MiniMed 530G, which combines an insulin pump with a sensor that sends a signal when sugar levels are below normal and even stops insulin delivery for two hours, particularly at night when they are asleep or unable to respond. Post FDA approval, the device will be developed for children aged 2 years and older.

The device has been launched for the first time in the U.S. However, it has been sold outside the U.S. as the MiniMed Veo System since 2009.

In the human body, insulin hormone is produced by pancreas, which converts blood sugar to energy. Due to diabetes, insulin-producing cells in the pancreas are destroyed causing patients to maintain proper blood sugar by injecting insulin. As a result, scientists have been struggling for years to develop technologies for automating insulin delivery.

Medtronic received the FDA approval for the device a week after getting a warning letter from the authority regarding issues related to manufacturing processes following an inspection of the company’s diabetes facility in Northridge, Calif. However, MDT has promised to address these issues as soon as possible.

Currently, MDT retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). While we remain on the sidelines about the company, other medical product stocks that worth a look include Trinity Biotech plc (TRIB) with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), and Boston Scientific Corporation (BSX) and Cytosorbents Corporation (CTSO), both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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