Verily, the Alphabet (Google) life sciences research group, and GlaxoSmithKline are partnering in a joint venture that may replace drugs for disease with micro-electronic implantable devices. GSK will own 55 percent of Galvani Bioelectronics, with Verily owning 45 percent. They have pledged an investment of £540 million in the new UK-based business over 7 years, as well as contributing intellectual property rights to Galvani. Most of the staff will be at GSK in Stevenage with some at Verily’s HQ in South San Francisco, and led by Kris Famm, formerly GSK’s vice president of bioelectronics R&D. The deal is expected to close by end of year.
According to Business Insider UK, GSK has been involved with bioelectronics for four years. It’s defined as “a relatively new scientific field that aims to tackle a wide range of chronic diseases using miniaturised, implantable devices that can modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body, including irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses.” The diseases that are being targeted are inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes. According to the MedCityNews interview of Verily’s CTO Brian Otis, the systems will be closed loop where the devices listen to the nerve signals, do real-time signal processing and send the optimized signal back to the nerve to restore healthy function. GSK has the diagnostic and biologic expertise, Verily has the device smarts. Also Mobihealthnews, Recode