The French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi, has agreed to support Google’s recently established biotech company in an effort to improve disease management for diabetic patients. Diabetes has been chosen as the first focus for Google’s venture into the life sciences industry.
The agreement made by the two companies outlines how Sanofi will use its expertise in pharmaceutical development, to support Google’s currently-unnamed biotech business. Sanofi is currently the manufacturer of the world’s best-selling insulin for the treatment of diabetes, making them an ideal choice as a partner in this project.
Google has recruited a team of scientists and engineers to head its initial diabetes project. While the companies have yet to comment on the details of their collaboration, they say their plan involves developing new approaches to diabetes treatment, which combine therapeutic methods with advancements in technology. They hope to implement novel technologies which would help doctors with disease monitoring, and help patients adhere to treatment schedules.
The newly-penned deal with Sanofi comes after an agreement Google made with Novartis last year. The Google/Novartis partnership is also diabetes-focused, and the team is currently working on a contact lens that could monitor glucose levels in the wearer.
Until recently, Google’s life sciences division was a part of the company’s R&D department, Google X. Following the formation of Google’s conglomerate Alphabet, it was announced that the life sciences division would be developed into a stand-alone company. Google life science’s plan to modernize diabetes treatment joins the company’s ongoing research into tools for robot-assisted surgery, wearable cardiac monitors and nanotechnology.
“With new technologies emerging to provide a more continuous and real-time view of a patient’s health, we can see the promise for more proactive and effective ways to control diabetes,” said Andy Conrad, CEO of Google Life Sciences. “Together with Sanofi, we believe diabetes management can be simpler and more convenient, which may help patients achieve an improved quality of life.”
For Sanofi, the partnership with Google comes after last year’s agreement made with medical device manufacturer Medtronic. Sanofi and Medtronic describe their diabetes partnership as an “open-innovation model”.
The Sanofi/Medtronic deal was announced at the 2014 American Diabetes Association meeting. The companies have agreed to focus their efforts on the development of combined treatment drugs and medical devices, and the creation of a new patient care management service. It’s hoped that the service could smooth the transition between diabetes treatment with oral therapies, and insulin injection thereby improving patient adherence.
The details of Google’s reorganization into a collection of semi-independent companies under the umbrella corporation Alphabet, were released earlier this month. The restructuring will also affect Google’s healthcare partnership with Calico, a pharmaceutical company whose aim is prolonging life. The company’s CEO, Art Levinson – formerly head of Genentech – has enlisted the help of many big-names in pharma and academia, to secure Calico’s position in the market.