Merck KGaA puts devices to work against diabetes in Blue Mesa digital program

Merck kgaa
Merck KGaA, whose Glucophage recently won a new indication to treat prediabetes, is taking on the Type 2 precursor in a new joint effort with digital partner Blue Mesa Health. (Merck KGaA)

The latest entrant into the digital diabetes arena is Merck KGaA. The German-based pharma is partnering with U.S. digital healthcare provider Blue Mesa Health on a prediabetes program for people outside the U.S.

The goal is to target people who have recently been diagnosed with prediabetes to help them change their behaviors and avoid a future diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. To push those lifestyle changes, Blue Mesa’s yearlong program uses remote health coaching, peer support and integrated smartphone activities such as connected bathroom scales and activity trackers. It comes in both English and Spanish versions.

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“The collaboration with Blue Mesa Health is one of the first steps to strengthen Merck's position in the prediabetes space by combining digital services with pharmacotherapy,” a Merck spokesperson said via email. “Expanding our current pharmacological portfolio into an integrated disease management offering will have a tremendous impact on treatment outcomes, we believe.”

The program is offered initially in three countries outside the U.S. with an eye to extending the collaboration to additional countries, although Merck declined to identify those future targets.

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Blue Mesa said in a press release that its digital solution has had “great success helping people across America prevent or significantly delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes.”

Merck KGaA is the maker of Glucophage (metformin) and last year received a label extension for the drug for treatment in the U.K. of nondiabetic hyperglycemia, also known as prediabetes. It is currently pursuing the new indication in other countries.