Medtronic sees growth potential in diabetes products; also: Northwest CEO on competition, and Digital Angel plans restructuring

A local company synonymous with the pacemaker might one day be better known for insulin pumps and glucose monitors. Medtronic is boosting research and development spending for its California-based diabetes unit by 35 percent this year, Reuters reports. The company hopes to invent the next generation of products for diabetes patients. Revenue from diabetes products is up 18 percent in 2008, offsetting its slowing cardiac rhythm device business.

With the future of airlines up in the air, some are asking whether it’s time to re-regulate the industry. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports deregulation in 1978 ushered in lower fares, tougher competition and more choices for consumers. The competition has been so fierce, though, it’s made it difficult for many airlines to survive. Northwest CEO Doug Steenland says he doesn’t see re-regulation as likely: “[T]he genie is out of the bottle, and I don’t think it can go back in.”

Digital Angel, a South St. Paul company that makes electronic ID tags for pets, wildlife and livestock, announced a restructuring plan Monday that will include “headcount reductions” and “moving some operations to lower-cost countries.” The press release doesn’t specify how many employees will be affected. A letter from CEO Joseph Grillo says, too, that some functions will move from the company’s Florida office to the Animal ID unit in South St. Paul, including human resources, administration, payroll and benefits.

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