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Verily's Digital Health Platform Shows Promise for Diabetes

An independent study of Verily's Onduo platform showed it significantly improved glycemic and cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Karen Young

November 11, 2022

3 Min Read
The Onduo for Diabetes mobile app developed by Verily, a Google spinoff, on an iPhone screen.
Image courtesy of opturadesign / Alamy Stock Photo

Study results using the Onduo platform by Verily in type 2 diabetes, presented at the American Heart Association’s (AHA) Scientific Sessions last week, showed Onduo significantly improved glycemic and cholesterol levels in the study population.

Verily is a subsidiary of Alphabet, launched from Google X in 2015.

The 578 study participants were in an employer-based group of those living with type 2 diabetes, with the study results showing clinically significant improvements in glycemic levels, or a p value of less than or equal to .05, within the first year of participation.

The retrospective, pre-post study, “Independent Evaluation of a Virtual Employer-Sponsored Type 2 Diabetes Management Program on Blood Glucose,” was conducted from December 2020 to September 2021 and independently evaluated.

The objective of the study, conducted by Quest Diagnostics, was to independently evaluate the effect of a virtual, employer-sponsored type 2 diabetes management program on blood glucose changes within the first year of participation.

Verily said Quest conducted the study independently from Verily and Onduo, adding that the company is “still digesting these findings to better understand potential implications for our future roadmap.”

Results showed that year-to-year changes in participants’ hemoglobin A1C (HbA1c), fasting glucose (FG), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), and low-density protein (LDL) significantly improved compared to pre-intervention changes:  HbA1c (-0.3 v. 0.0, P .02); FG (-8.8 v. 6.8, P < .001); HDL (1.4 v. -0.3, P < .001); LDL (-6.4 v. -4.4, P .05).

The largest glycemic improvements post-intervention were seenin study participants with the highest baseline indices, or greater than or equal to 9 percent, resulting in a 2.5 year-to-year decrease in HbA1c levels (-2.5 v. 1.6, P < .001), or baseline FG greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL (-23.3 v. 22.2, P < .001).

All study participants engaged in the Onduo program via the mobile app. Other engaged using specific tools: 84% in personalized coaching, 69% via a blood glucose monitor; 13% via telehealth; and 10% via continuous glucose monitoring.

Onduo was formed in 2016 as a joint venture between Verily and Sanofi, with each investing $500 million. However, in December of 2019, Paul Hudson – Sanofi’s newly installed CEO, announced that the company had “over-invested” in Onduo. Sanofi then said it would focus on immunology and vaccine businesses and stop it work in cardiovascular and diabetes R&D efforts.

In June 2021, Verily and Sanofi made a move with the Onduo platform to branch into mental and behavioral health. The goal was to enable people to access psychiatrists, therapists, and mental health coaches.

At the time, Onduo’s CEO, Vindell Washington, MD, noted that “access to mental health is often a challenge and has become an even greater need during the pandemic."

The Onduo digital health platform is now wholly-owned by Verily, the company said. The goals for the platform have expanded from its early focus on diabetes to the management and prevention of other chronic diseases.

A Verily spokesperson told MD+DI this week that the compay's Project Baseline "started as an ambitious longitudinal study and has since expanded to include a community of over 600,000 participants in our Baseline Community Study.”

“We are leveraging the research tools for use by study sponsors and research sites, and are developing disease-specific longitudinal registries, to be leveraged by sponsors to generate evidence on the efficacy, safety, and value of treatments," the spokesperson said.

The company said Verily is continuing “to innovate on our whole-person, precision care model and sharpen our focus on reducing the burden of chronic conditions, like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and mental health, for individuals and the entire healthcare ecosystem.”

About the Author(s)

Karen Young

Founder, The Young Group

Before opening The Young Group in 1999, Karen Young held executive titles in marketing and product development at Lancôme and Estée Lauder. An active board member of Fashion Group International, Young is a certified personal trainer and nutritionist who divides her time between her New York and Paris offices. She has worked extensively in all categories of the cosmetic industry, developing concepts and products for RoC, Bath and Body Works, Neutrogena, e.l.f, Vichy and Oribe. Young has also worked on numerous established brands in the beauty category, including Christian Dior Beauté, Shiseido, Bumble & bumble, Dove and Paula’s Choice.

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