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Dexcom to Unveil Google-Powered CGM by 2018

Expect the first continuous glucose monitor device to launch in 2018, with the second-generation product appearing a few years later, Dexcom's top executives told analysts this week.

Dexcom G5 mobile
Dexcom won FDA approval last year for its Dexcom G5 mobile continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) system, which sends glucose data directly to a smartphone. (Image courtesy of Dexcom)

Chris Newmarker

It will start out in 2018 with a mini continuous glucose monitor that leverages many of the advanced sensors and algorithms Dexcom has been talking about, along with miniaturized electronics and batteries courtesy of Google. But by 2020 to 2021, the goal is to have something much more innovative: a disposable sensor that is like a tiny bandage on the skin.

Those were the milestones that Dexcom is looking at when it comes to the San Diego-based  continuous glucose monitoring systems' R&D partnership with Google's life sciences sister company Verily, top executives told analysts on Tuesday.

Dexcom CEO Kevin Ronald Sayer has a fairly radical goal: give people using Dexcom's devices what they actually want.

The second-generation product is about "turning the CGM transmitter literally into a Band-Aid-sized electronics configuration that a patient can peel off and throw away," Sayer said during the call, transcribed by Seeking Alpha.

"That'd be very cost effective, and that's the end game here. That's what we're shooting for every day because we know that's what patients want," Sayer said.

Verily has stated its overall goal is to "bring together technology and life sciences to uncover new truths about health and disease."  Also this week, news came out that Verily is joining Vanderbilt University Medical Center, University of Michigan, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard to figure out how to encourage robust participant engagement in health research studies as part of President Barack Obama's Precision Medicine Initiative.

Meanwhile, Google's AI company, Google DeepMind, is getting involved with medical technology, according to Business Insider. The move could put Google DeepMind in direct competition with IBM's Watson Health unit.

Dexcom and Google announced the continuous glucose monitor partnership last year. It was described at the time as a marriage of Google's miniaturized electronics platform with DexCom's sensor technology.

"This collaboration is another step towards expanding monitoring options and making it easier for people with diabetes to proactively manage their health," Andrew Conrad, who was head of Google's life sciences team and is now CEO of Verily, said at the time.

Verily has other major projects in the works. J&J , for example, has allied itself with Verily to launch a surgical robotics company called Verb Surgical. The end game is to undercut competitors by developing smaller and less expensive operating room technology.

There are also efforts to create a glucose-reading contact lens in partnership with Novartis.

Learn more about cutting-edge medical devices at BIOMEDevice Boston, April 13-14, 2016.

Chris Newmarker is senior editor of Qmed and MPMN. Follow him on Twitter at @newmarker.

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