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Google and Sanofi in joint diabetes venture

Verily is a company that comes under Alphabet (Google’s parent corporation), and the partnership with Sanofi is one of several ventures between Verily and the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors. This includes bioelectronics, ‘smart’ contact lenses, robotic surgery and software platforms. With the new venture the idea is that Verily brings expertise in software and technology and Sanofi bring their experience of medicine and drug treatments.

The two companies will form a new company called Onduo ($500 million venture). The mission statement will be to enable those with diabetes to lead a better quality of life, harnessing hardware and software to enable this to happen. The immediate focus will be with type 2 diabetes (the ‘lifestyle condition’); eventually resources will be directed towards type 1 diabetes (the condition that some people are born with).

The newly appointed chief executive of Onduo is Dr. Joshua Riff. Speaking with the website Pharma Phorum, Riff said why the company’s mission statement was important: “My experience as a physician and in leading consumer health initiatives has shown me the daily burden of living with diabetes.”

He also explained the challenges faced by those with diabetes: “From monitoring food intake to testing glucose levels to actively seeking medical care, the challenges both on the physical and mental well-being of a person living with diabetes are incredibly difficult.”

He then went on to explain the technological drivers: “We want to develop solutions that allow people living with diabetes to focus on the things they love and enjoy in life by providing tools to make dealing with their diabetes less burdensome.”

The ideas being considered include collecting data about patients and using this as a collective support forum; producing connected insulin pens; and in developing monitoring devices. The forum will take the form of a complex support platform. The new company has promised to work with patient advocacy groups in putting the final package together.

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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