Thursday 11 August 2016

Google Partners with Glaxosmithkline on $700 Million BioElectronic Venture


Google to Partner with GlaxoSmithKline – Bioelectronics Medicines

As per a recent joint announcement, the parent company of Google will be partnering with GlaxoSmithKline – GLAXF, which is the leading pharmaceutical firm of British and would be launching new company developing bioelectronics medicines. The two companies intend to put in as much as $700 million for the next seven years in the new venture which would be named Galvani Bioelectronics.

The life science division of Alphabet, Verily would own 45% of the venture and Glaxo with 55%. Bioelectronic medicine is said to be a new field of research aimed on implanting minute devices which could change electrical signal in the nerves in treating chronic conditions. Several biological processes tend to be controlled through electrical signals which are transmitted from the nervous system to the organs of the body.

Glaxo had stated that the early-stage research in its laboratories recommend that distortions of those signalling pathways were involved in many long-term ailments comprising of diabetes asthma and arthritis. The assurance is that these devices are much more effective as well as economical for the patient than the prevailing treatments. In August 2015, Google had officially launched a standalone business devoted to life science a few days after the company had announced the corporate restructuring which had developed Alphabet and rebranded it as Verily in December.

New Technologies from Early Stage R&D to Clinical Testing

Google’s co-founder, Sergey Brin had mentioned in a post announcing the new division last year that they would continue to work with the other life sciences companies in order to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing and hope to transform the way they detect, prevent and manage disease. Earlier, Alphabet had partnered with Johnson & Johnson – JNJ, in the development of enhanced robotic tools for surgeries.

 The efforts tend to be ambitious for a company which has been building its name assisting people search the Internet instead of helping doctors explore for cures. Initial attempts of improving smart contact lenses and a Star Trek-style diagnostic device had been disapproved as more of hype than reality, by some in the scientific group. However, for Google, there is real money at stake here. Verily together with Nest and Google Fiber seems to be the three businesses in Alphabet’s risky `Other Bets’ division which is said to be really generating some revenue.

Possibility for New Beneficial Modality/Old-Style Medicines/Vaccines

A net loss of around $859 million on that division had been reported by Alphabet which had also comprised of expensive activities such as self-driving cars for the quarter ending in June. Glaxo has stated that Galvani Bioelectronics would be bringing together the knowledge of drug discovery of Glaxo and development with the expertise of Verily in reducing low-power electronics, building software for clinical applications and data analytics. Initial process would be concentrated on developing miniature electronic devices in testing out the concept in humans for the first time, according to Glaxo.

Glaxo’s head of vaccines and chairman of Galvani Bioelectronics, Moncef Slaoui, stated that the treatment would work on attaching tiny electronic devices to individual nerves and if successful the approach would provide the possibility for a new beneficial modality together with old-style medicines and vaccines. Kris Famm who tends to head up Bioelectronics research at Glaxo would be the president of the new company with Andrew Conrad as the chief executive of Verily who would be on Galvani’s board.

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