Verily and Novartis Halt Glucose Detection Lens Work

The Mountain View, CA-based company isn’t out of diabetes completely, as it still has partnerships in the space with DexCom, Sensile, and Sanofi.

When Alphabet’s Verily Lifesciences plunged into medtech the company took a deep dive. Some collaborations seemed futuristic and others were just natural. However, not all of the collaborations were going to be successful. And so, Verily, the former life sciences division of Google, along with Alcon, Novartis’ eyecare division, are putting the brakes on a plan for its smart lens to detect glucose levels.

Brian Otis, PHD, Chief Technical Officer for Verily announced the news in a recent blog posting.

“Our 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,” Otis wrote. “We are at a point where we have decided, together with Alcon, to put the glucose-sensing lens work on hold, while continuing to focus on the smart accommodating contact lens and smart intraocular lens projects.”

The partnership between Novartis and Verily began back in 2014. However there have been delays with the smart lens, which were also being developed to provide vision correction for people suffering from presbyopia.

Don’t think this is the end of Verily’s work in diabetes. The company also has a high profile partnership with DexCom and began a joint venture with Sensile and Sanofi called Onduo.

In addition, the firm has been extremely busy in the medtech space with collaborations. Earlier this year, MD+DI ranked the top collaborations that helped Verily gain a foothold in healthcare.

The news also comes on the heels of Novartis’ plan to spin off Alcon. Novartis said if the Alcon spin out is completed, then it would create a new Switzerland-based company with global scale and reach comprising more than 20,000 employees, with around $7 billion in (2017) sales.

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