Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences and iRhythm Technologies are bringing together data analytics and artificial intelligence to improve the condition of Atrial Fibrillation (AFib) patients. iRhythm’s COO Karim Karti said a solution from this collaboration could come within the next 18 to 24 months.
“We expect … that [in] a two-year-time frame that we will be showing the product from this collaboration,” Karti, told MD+DI.
San Francisco-based iRhythm is a company known for operating in the intersection of cardiology and AI. The firm has developed Zio Patch XT, a wearable technology that can monitor heart rate activity for up to 14 days.
Karti said the collaboration will focus on asymptomatic patients that potentially have AFib.
“This [collaboration] is aimed at a very significant patient population,” he said. “This population hasn’t been addressed for a very long time.”
iRhythm estimates that more than 10 million Americans are at high risk for a common heart rhythm disorder known as atrial fibrillation. AFib is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke as compared to those without AFib, with these strokes tending to be more severe and associated with higher mortality rates.
For about 20% of individuals who experience a stroke due to AFib, the occurrence of AFib was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. Further, an estimated one-third of those who have AFib are not aware they have it. Asymptomatic or “silent” AFib is associated with certain risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea – which increase an individual’s likelihood for developing the disorder.
Terms of the agreement call for iRhythm to make an upfront payment to Verily of $5 million and potential milestone payments of up to $12.75 million upon the achievement of various development and regulatory milestones.
The companies said the solutions will be capable of providing earlier warnings, enabling the identification and management of patients that could otherwise go undiagnosed until they have a cardiac event, such as a stroke.
“We see a common purpose here,” Karti said of the partnership. “As you know Verily wants to solve big problems in healthcare. The company is very ambitious in solving problems that have a significant impact on patients and healthcare costs.”
Throughout the years, Verily has had some pretty high-profile partnerships in healthcare. MD+DI identified seven of these collaborations that helped transform Verily from an unlikely player in the space – to a premier partner in healthcare.
The company has taken part in developing solutions that range from surgical robotics to products in the bioelectric medicine space.
However, some collaborations have hit roadblocks. In November of last year, Verily along with Alcon (when it was owned by Novartis) halted work on its Glucose Detection Lens Offering. The companies stopped the project because clinical work on the glucose-sensing lens demonstrated that there was insufficient consistency in our measurements of the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device.
Alcon and Verily did say that they would continue to focus on the smart accommodating contact lens and smart intraocular lens projects.
Because of its contributions in medtech Verily (Google) was named Medtech company of the year in 2014.