Sanofi and Verily, the life science unit of Google parent Alphabet Inc are all set to enter a joint venture called Onduo to improve diabetes care. The $500 million investment will aim to combine devices with services.
“The company will leverage Verily’s experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development, with Sanofi’s clinical expertise and experience in bringing innovative treatments to people living with diabetes,” the two companies said in a statement.
Before the Sanofi deal, GlaxoSmithKline and Verily created a new bioelectronics company that focused on combating diseases by targeting the electrical signals in the body.
On the other hand Verily, in partnership with Novartis has been working on the development of smart contact lenses embedded with glucose sensors for diabetes monitoring.
Continuous monitoring of sugar levels is a must for diabetes treatment and this partnership could make a big difference in diabetes care.
“It’s an area where we think new tools and sensors will be incredibly helpful,” Verily Chief Medical Officer Jessica Mega said in a telephone interview.
“The idea is creating best-in-class biocompatible small sensors” that could, for example, monitor blood glucose, she said.
“We want to … figure out the right mechanisms to get information to patients. Over time we hope to get information to people that is actionable,” Mega said.
“My experience as a physician and in leading consumer health initiatives has shown me the daily burden of living with diabetes,” said Dr. Riff, CEO, Onduo. “From monitoring food intake to testing glucose levels to actively seeking medical care, the challenges both on the physical and mental well-being of a person living with diabetes are incredibly difficult. We want to develop solutions that allow people living with diabetes to focus on the things they love and enjoy in life by providing tools to make dealing with their diabetes less burdensome.”
As type 2 diabetes accounts for more that 90 percent of the diabetes cases, Onduo will initially focus on the type 2 diabetes community by developing solutions that could help people make better decisions about their day-to-day health.
The products on sale would include insulin pens as well as online services.
A spokesperson for Sanofi said that it had invested $248 million in the joint venture, in which it controls a 50 percent stake.