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Verily Forms ‘Ultimate Alliance’ with Pharma Heavy Hitters

The strategic partnerships are with Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, and Sanofi and are aimed at improving clinical research.

What is Alphabet’s Verily up to now, is probably a question that is asked and answered on a regular basis. Google’s farmer life science’s arm has worked with some pretty big players in healthcare on projects ranging from surgical robotics to smart contact lenses.

On Tuesday, Verily revealed yet another long-term project – one that would have it work with some of the top players in the pharmaceutical industry, in an effort to improve clinical research.

The company said it had formed strategic alliances with Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, and Sanofi to implement a more patient-centric, technology-enabled approach to research, and increase the number and diversity of clinical research participants.

“Verily has spent the last several years developing tools and technology through Project Baseline, including the Baseline Platform, that our partners will leverage to run digitally innovative, patient-centered clinical research programs,” Scarlet Shore, lead for Project Baseline, Verily, told MD+DI. “By engaging more patients and providers, making it easier to conduct research, and using a single operating system to collect higher quality, more real-time, real-world data, we hope to generate better evidence and improve patient outcomes.”

Verily launched Project Baseline in 2017 with the goal of bridging the gap between research and care. The company launched a landmark study in 2017, in partnership with Duke University School of Medicine, Stanford Medicine, Google and the American Heart Association. The study aims to collect comprehensive health information from thousands of participants over several years. As part of the study, Verily is developing and testing tools and technology, including the Baseline Platform, sensors and devices, and more to generate meaningful insights to drive healthcare innovation and improve lives.

Over the coming years, Novartis, Otsuka, Pfizer, and Sanofi each plan to launch clinical studies using the Baseline platform across diverse therapeutic areas, such as cardiovascular disease, oncology, mental health, dermatology, and diabetes.

“By engaging more patients and providers, making it easier to conduct research, and using a single operating system to collect higher quality, more real-time, real-world data, we hope to generate better evidence and improve patient outcomes,” Shore said.

She noted that results from the collaboration would be revealed in the “coming years.”

Past Allies

Verily has collaborated with some of the companies in the initiative before. Verily’s relationship with Sanofi dates back to 2016, when the two formed a joint venture called Onduo.  Cambridge, MA-based Onduo said its mission is to help people with diabetes live full, healthy lives by developing comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management

Verily would go on to work with Sanofi again in June of 2018. This time the companies would collaborate alongside Olten, Switzerland-based Sensile Medical to develop and commercialize a new generation of “all-in-one” pre-filled insulin patch pump, primarily to serve people living with type 2 diabetes.

The company also had a relationship with Novartis. In fact, the 2014 collaboration between the two was one of Verily’s first forays into healthcare. However, Novartis and Verily’s plan to develop a glucose-sensing contact lens was put on ice in November of last year.

The plan to develop a smart lens is still in play, but it is now with Alcon, since Novartis spun out the eyecare business as a separate publicly-traded company.

 

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