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Medtronic boosts investment in diabetes devices

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Medtronic Inc MDT.N is boosting investment in its fast-growing diabetes unit as it aims to convert more diabetics to insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, the head of the business said on Monday.

Medtronic, the world’s largest stand-alone medical device maker, is increasing its research and development spending on diabetes technology by 35 percent this year to speed development of next-generation diabetes devices that are simpler to use and more effective in managing the disease, said Chris O’Connell, president of Medtronic’s diabetes division.

As the technology improves, demand for insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors should propel diabetes product sales above the company’s official forecast of 12 percent to 14 percent annual revenue growth for the division, O’Connell said in an interview.

The company is focused on a number of technology advances, including an insulin pump that can automatically shut off insulin delivery if it detects a patient’s blood sugar has fallen too low. A pump with that safety feature is expected to gain approval for sale in Europe later this calendar year, O’Connell said.

Reporting by Susan Kelly