The Animas Vibe insulin pump, manufactured by Animas Corp., a diabetes-care unit that parent company Johnson & Johnson plans to close.
Animas Corp.
The Animas Vibe insulin pump, manufactured by Animas Corp., a diabetes-care unit that parent company Johnson & Johnson plans to close.

Animas Corp., a Johnson & Johnson diabetes-care company in Chesterbrook, said Thursday that it plans to close operations and get out of the insulin-pump business.

About 90,000 patients using Animas pumps will be offered the option of transferring to pumps made by Medtronic PLC, the company said.

Animas employs 410 globally, about half of whom work in Chesterbrook and at a manufacturing plant in West Chester.

In January, Johnson & Johnson said it was evaluating strategic options, including the possible sale of some of its diabetes-care businesses. J&J said Thursday that it continues to review potential options for its blood-glucose monitoring business, LifeScan Inc.

Animas will stop selling the pumps, Animas Vibe and OneTouch Ping, in the United States and Canada, effective immediately.  Operations in other countries will continue for a while, but eventually end, the company said.

"We will continue to operate certain functions of the business — including manufacturing, customer and safety support, as examples — for an indeterminate amount of time as we help our patients transition," said Bridget Doherty, spokeswoman for Animas. "Accordingly, we will provide support to impacted employees and their families through the transition.

"A decision and timing to exit markets outside of the U.S. and Canada is pending consultation with relevant works councils," she said.

Chesterbrook and West Chester will continue to operate for an "indeterminate amount of time to provide support for our current patients, help them transition, and to support the business outside the U.S. and Canada," she said.

Valerie Asbury, general manager of Animas, said: "With changing needs of customers, rapidly evolving market dynamics, and increased competitive pressures, it proved too difficult to sustain the insulin-pump business, and we decided to pursue an exit. This decision was extremely difficult and comes following the extensive exploration of all other viable options for the Animas business."

Animas said it will work with Medtronic as a "partner of choice" to help ensure a smooth transition for patients on insulin pumps.

In a statement late Thursday, JDRF, formerly known as the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, said the Animas closing takes away choice for 1.25 million Americans with type 1 diabetes. Animas is the second-largest manufacturer of insulin pumps, after No. 1 Medtronic.

"It means fewer treatment options," said Derek Rapp, CEO of the nonprofit group. "Pump choice is critical, and people with type 1 diabetes need the ability to choose the devices that work best for them."

In a news release, J&J said it "remains committed to the prevention and treatment of diabetes," and will continue to serve patients through products from its medical-device, pharmaceuticals, and consumer businesses in areas such as bariatric surgery and medicines such as Invokana (canagliflozin) and Invokamet (canagliflozin/metformin HCI), which are  used to treat type 2 diabetes.