Google has begun a major search for new ways to manage and treat diabetes under a partnership between its recently re-organized Life Sciences division and French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi.
Experts say the partnership was the first indication Google is serious about the division making a real contribution to the world of biomedical research after having recently hired prominent immunologists, neurologist and nanoparticle engineers.
Google said the life sciences division has already developed a blood glucose level measuring contact lens, and has entered into an agreement with medical equipment producer Dexcom to develop a convenient and inexpensive device for continuous glucose monitoring.
Medical experts said because sudden fluctuations in blood sugar was the main cause for the worst outcomes like strokes, heart disease, and nerve damage in diabetes patients, it was vital that monitoring devices were available to all. The experts also said that currently even the most basic blood sugar measuring units and their associated test strips were relatively expensive which was one reason many people did not monitor their blood sugar levels on an ongoing basis.
Through its data-centric work with Sanofi, Google hopes providing doctors and patients with better information could help prevent or mitigate these fluctuations.
In a released statement Google said the diabetes focus was a move away from the traditional “tech centric” approach to a “disease centric” one.
“New technologies could make it simple for a physician to understand when a patient’s blood sugar is tracking high for days in a row,” Google said, “or could offer new ways for a patient to get real-time information and specific guidance about diet or insulin dosage.”
Although Google realizes new technologies could take years to be readily available, it said one of the major goals of the Sanofi partnership was to speed up the time between medical breakthrough and patient accessibility.
The company said the partnership would not be solely diabetes focused as in the coming months it will release details on its plans to take on other diseases including heart disease, neurodegenerative conditions and cancer.