Earlens is teaming up with Verily, an Alphabet company, to help develop next-generation capabilities for a nonsurgical hearing solution. Menlo Park, CA-based Earlens said Verily would be a “natural partner.”
"By combining our complementary sets of expertise, we aim to develop a next-generation hearing solution, as well as explore modalities for monitoring that may address conditions beyond hearing loss,” Bill Facteau, Earlens president and CEO of Earlens said in a release.
The company noted while some acoustic hearing aids have announced new AI capabilities and overall wellness benefits, they are typically only worn for part of the day, while the Lens in the Earlens solution remains in the ear at all times.
The firm’s device uses a small lens to vibrate the eardrum, which directly activates the natural hearing process and delivers the broadest bandwidth available.
In a release, Brian Otis, Verily’s CTO, said the company’s “extensive experience in custom miniaturized, low-power and integrated medical devices uniquely position us to enhance the Earlens solution with a smaller, more efficient and more powerful behind-the-ear device. Earlens is the only hearing solution that places a lens on the eardrum, and by combining our innovative medical, wearable and sensor technologies, we can further revolutionize the industry to support patients dealing with hearing challenges."
For years now, Verily has been the go-to partner in innovation for many pharmaceutical and medtech firms. The collaborations helped Verily gain a significant foothold in healthcare.
However, the dynamics of some of Verily’s longstanding partnerships and joint ventures were altered in 2019. Verily was put in a unique position late last year with the Onduo Joint Venture after Sanofi announced it was shifting away from R&D in the diabetes space.
Paris-based Sanofi said it would instead focus on its immunology and vaccine businesses. Both companies brought $500 million to the table to launch Onduo 2016. The joint venture was billed as trying to help people with diabetes live full and healthy lives by developing comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management.
The dynamics surrounding the joint venture with Johnson & Johnson was another big change the former Google Life Science’s arm experienced. The New Brunswick, NJ-based company, in a move to further strengthen its surgical robotics prowess, acquired Verily’s stake in Verb Surgical.