Ask anyone with diabetes: managing the chronic condition is time consuming and exhausting. People living with diabetes have to keep in mind hundreds of data points to help with the several dozen therapy decisions they need to make on any given day.1 It’s a lot of responsibility. And when you consider the serious health risks that can occur if diabetes isn’t managed correctly, it’s also a lot of pressure.
Knowing how cumbersome it is to keep a written log of all your diabetes data, Frank Westermann, Fredrik Debong, Gerald Stangl and Michael Forisch set out together over ten years ago to create the first version of the mySugr® app. The aim of the app – made by people with diabetes, for people with diabetes – has always been equipping individuals with the tools and confidence they need to navigate the complexity of their daily therapy routine. What began as a start-up with a handful of employees in the Austrian capital has now grown into a global company that became part of Roche Group in 2017. Today, with more than four million registered users globally and availability in over 80 countries and 24 languages, mySugr® is one of the world’s most popular diabetes management apps.
It’s a good thing scientific partnerships don’t rely on dating apps. With its slogan “Make diabetes suck less,” a match between the young digital health company and 125-year-old pharmaceutical giant Roche wasn’t obvious. But Roche had been an early investor, so when the time was right for partnering, the Vienna-based enterprise chose to go with Roche, not only because of its strong global presence and power to commercialise their product, but also because of how well the two companies’ visions and values align. A shared goal of leveraging the latest in digital technologies to personalise and improve diabetes management marked the beginning of their collaboration. And despite their differences in terms of age and culture, it wasn’t hard to make the relationship work.
“It was, and still is, a perfect match. The vision of Roche Diabetes Care is to bring true relief to people with diabetes, and mySugr does everything to make ‘diabetes suck less,’ as their tagline says. Using different words, we’re on the same mission,” says Jörg Hölzing, Head of Strategy and Customer Solutions at Roche Diabetes Care and Managing Director at mySugr. He adds: “mySugr is an integral part and the primary patient interface of Roche Diabetes Care’s open ecosystem. The synergy between the two companies is a foundation to reach and help even more people with diabetes.”
There are many devices and digital options that people with diabetes use on a daily basis; each one of these solutions generates data that’s useful for understanding what an individual needs. As part of Roche’s open ecosystem, the mySugr app collects all the relevant data from these different sources, storing the information in one place. The result is that people with diabetes and their healthcare providers have a wealth of up-to-date information to support the right data-driven treatment decision at the right time.
As one of the four mySugr founders, Michael Forisch, now Global Head of Digital Quality and Regulatory at Roche Diabetes Care, still marvels at what Roche and mySugr have accomplished together: “It’s incredible to see what has been achieved since mySugr was first launched more than 10 years ago. And it’s true what they say about ‘opposites attract’! We learn from each other every day and make a great team. With Roche, we found a trustworthy partner, and together we continue to pursue our vision and make tremendous progress for people with diabetes.”
It’s so important for people living with the everyday reality of diabetes to know that they’re not alone – and that access to personalised, data-driven support can be found right at their fingertips. Together, Roche and mySugr continue to reshape diabetes management to innovate individualised, holistic solutions that improve the quality of life for millions.
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