Ask anybody with diabetes: managing it is time consuming, exhausting and very annoying.

This is why Roche paired with mySugr, a company that is by people with diabetes for people with diabetes. Knowing those living with diabetes can easily spend two hours a day seeing to their condition, Vienna-based digital health startup mySugr took on the mission to develop an easy-to-use digital diabetes management solution. For people who make around fifty therapy decisions every day, anything that can make life easier offers enormous relief.

Relationships built on trust

The collaboration with mySugr began with a small equity investment through the Roche Venture Fund. Roche had been looking for a digital solution, intuiting mobile connectivity could make diabetes therapy more convenient. Investing in mySugr was a wise decision; their vision aligned exceptionally well with the Roche values and it became clear that mySugr should become part of the Roche family.

When discussions about an acquisition began in 2016, other companies were competing for mySugr. mySugr,  however, chose Roche—not only because of Roche’s power to commercialise their product, but because Roche also believes in a patient-centric approach.

mySugr gave Roche access to a successful digital platform with more than one million users and Roche had the market-leading diabetes care technology. Mutual trust allowed both parties to understand the other’s business goals and move forward together.

Freedom to be

Although Roche has been exclusive shareholder since June 2017, mySugr retains its independence. Antonietta Pedrazzetti, Head of Business Development, Strategy, and Licensing for Roche Diabetes Care, illustrates Roche's commitment to its business partners. “Roche Diabetes Care employs around 5000 people, mySugr about 60,” explains Antonietta, “We didn’t want to gobble them up, ruin their autonomy, take them away from all they stand for.” The collaboration between mySugr and Roche is a perfect example of, in her words, “When one plus one makes more than two.”

Frank Westermann, CEO and co-founder of mySugr, agrees. The synergy between the two companies means helping even more people: “The past six months have been an exciting experience for the mySugr team. The diabetes business is changing so much and we see ourselves as an accelerator of the current change process. But we also learn a lot about the complexity of running a truly global business from Roche.”

The success story

Roche and mySugr complement each other’s strengths. Roche offers profound expertise, global reach and the ability to continue investment opportunities. mySugr has the most downloaded and well-liked app for diabetes management. Together, they offer a more comprehensive care offering and digitalisation approach. Like rock and roll, zig and zag, salt and pepper, true success is when both parties bring out the best in each other.

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Tags: Science, Innovation, Patients