By Simeon Bennett
Google Inc. gained an ally to develop smart contact lenses with embedded electronics to improve vision and monitor health by teaming up with Swiss drug company Novartis AG.
Novartis’s Alcon unit will work with Google’s secretive Google X division on lenses with non-invasive sensors, microchips and embedded miniaturized electronics to monitor insulin levels for people with diabetes, or to restore the eye’s natural focus in people who can no longer read without glasses, Basel-based Novartis said in a statement today. No terms of the deal were disclosed.
Novartis Chief Executive Officer Joe Jimenez identified eye care as one of three key divisions, along with branded and generic drugs, in announcing a $28.5 billion restructure of the company in April that involved selling off the vaccines and animal-health units and buying GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s cancer business.
“This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye,” Jimenez said in the statement.
Novartis rose 0.4 percent to 80.75 Swiss francs at 9:58 a.m. in Zurich. The stock has gained 20 percent in the past year, including reinvested dividends, compared with a 21 percent advance in the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.[eap_ad_3]
At a meeting with analysts and investors last month, Jimenez said technology would become more important in pharmaceuticals as patients take a more active role in their own health care.
“If you think about the convergence of biology and micro-processing today and things like remote patient monitoring and there can be a breakthrough in innovation that can help manage this aging population and this is going to be the key,” Jimenez said.
Google said in January it was developing smart contact lenses after Bloomberg News reported that the Mountain View, California-based company had met with officials at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration who oversee medical devices.
“Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help the quality of life for millions of people,” Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said in today’s statement. (Bloomberg)[eap_ad_3]
By Simeon Bennett