Blog Tag: Verily
Sanofi, a French multinational pharmaceutical company, and Verily Life Sciences LLC (formerly Google Life Sciences), Alphabet’s U.S.-based company devoted to the study of life sciences, recently announced the launch of Onduo, a joint venture created through collaboration between the two companies in diabetes treatment. Bloomberg and Reuters reported that Sanofi is inventing $248 million in the joint venture, and Verily the equivalent amount.
According to the announcement by Sanofi and Verily, Onduo will “leverage Verily’s experience in miniaturized electrics, analytics, and consumer software development, and Sanofi’s clinical expertise and experience in brining innovative treatments to people living with diabetes.” The announcement also mentioned that Onduo will initially focus on the type 2 diabetes community, specifically on “developing solutions that could help people make better decisions about their day to day health, ranging from improved medication management to improved habits and goals.”
Stefan Oelrich, head of diabetes at Sanofi, said to the Wall Street Journal that the collaboration between Verily and Sanofi could yield a new product much faster than traditional drug development. He expected Onduo to launch its first product within 2 to 3 years, compared to the roughly 10 years it takes to develop a new medicine.
The joint venture came out about a year after Sanofi and Verily agreed to collaborate to improve care and outcomes for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Onduo is one of many joint ventures that Verily have created in collaboration with other major pharmaceutical and medical device companies, including Galvani Bioelectronics, a joint venture with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Verb Surgical, a joint venture with Johnson & Johnson’s Ethicon.
Sanofi and Verily appointed Joshua Riff, formerly a senior vice president of prevention and well-being at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum, as the chief executive officer of Onduo. The joint venture is based in Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced that it is partnering with Verily Life Sciences LLC to form Galvani Bioelectronics. According to the press release, GSK and Verily will contribute IP rights and an investment of $712.7 million over seven years.
The new firm, Galvani, is named after the 18th century Italian scientist, physician, and philosopher, Luigi Aloisio Galvani. Galvani was one of the first to explore bioelectronics, and discovered that the muscles of a frog’s legs twitched when the sciatic nerves were stimulated with an electric spark. Galvani’s observations paved the path for the fields of electrophysiology and neuroscience – two pivotal fields in the development of bioelectric medicine.
The press release notes that Galvani Bioelectronics will be a bioelectronics medicine firm, performing research, development, and commercialization of miniaturized, implantable devices that fight diseases by targeting electrical signals in the body. These devices will initially be about the size of a medical pill, with the goal of making them as small as or smaller than a grain of rice. The new devices are said to be designed to function by modifying electrical nerve signals, which could modulate irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses. The press release indicates that these devices may be slated for FDA approval by around 2023.
According to Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who will chair the board of Galvani:
Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system and the body’s organs, which may become distorted in many chronic diseases. Bioelectronic medicine’s vision is to employ the latest advances in biology and technology to interpret this electrical conversation and to correct the irregular patterns found in disease states, using miniaturised devices attached to individual nerves. If successful, this approach offers the potential for a new therapeutic modality alongside traditional medicines and vaccines.
GSK has been researching these miniaturized medical devices, and published their initial progress in the field in Nature in 2013. Galvani Bioelectronics is 55% owned by GSK and 45% owned by Verily. The company will be based at GSK’s Stevenage research center north of London, with a second research facility in San Francisco. According to Slaoui:
This agreement with Verily to establish Galvani Bioelectronics signals a crucial step forward in GSK’s bioelectronics journey, bringing together health and tech to realise a shared vision of miniaturised, precision electrical therapies. Together, we can rapidly accelerate the pace of progress in this exciting field, to develop innovative medicines that truly speak the electrical language of the body.