Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) (VTX:NOVN) have announced an amazing development, one sure to be a significant point of differentiation in Google’s plans to beat Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) in the race to control consumers healthcare applications.
The product under joint development is “smart” contact lenses that track blood glucose levels or restore the eye’s ability to focus, Reuters is reporting.
Novartis partners with Google to develop contact lens
Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) (VTX:NOVN), said to be the lead developer of the medical technology with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) integrating their developed micro-technology into the contact lens, claimed the technology is potentially life-changing for many diabetics, who prick their fingers as many as 10 times daily to track their glucose levels and check their body for sugar production. The development not only assists Google in getting a leg up over Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but the important niche market is expected to be worth $12 billion by 2017, impacting 382 million diabetics worldwide, according to research firm GlobalData.
The new product is not just for diabetics. The second use tackles the problem of presbyopia, an affliction where elderly eyes have difficulty focusing on nearby objects. Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) (VTX:NOVN) goal with their lens technology is to work “like the autofocus on a camera,” the report noted, helping restore the ability of the eye to focus.
To accomplish these somewhat breakthrough developments into a contact lenses, researchers will utilize non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics that are embedded in the contact lenses.
Google – Novartis deal undisclosed
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. But Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS) (VTX:NOVN)’s Alcon eyecare unit is expected to further develop and commercialize the lens technologies, which was designed by Google[x], the American research team.
“I think you’re going to see more and more areas of unmet medical need where companies like Novartis are going to take a non-traditional approach to addressing those unmet needs,” Novartis Chief Executive Joe Jimenez was quoted in the article saying. “This really brings high-technology and combines it with biology and that’s a very exciting combination for us.”
The alliance between the Swiss drug maker and Silicon Valley tech titan comes as both are exploring ways for technology to optimize the healthcare process – and provide their companies a dominate position in this industry re-shaping process. Helping patients monitor their own health and managing chronic diseases themselves could lead to reductions in the user’s insurance premiums associated with lower healthcare costs. The companies that can establish itself as the leader in this advanced healthcare infrastructure space could be dominate going into the coming decade. The cost of medical benefits promised to retiring seniors in the next two to three years is explosive and products that can reduce the cost of care will be in high demand.
For their part, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (LON:BC94) (KRX:0059935) are actively working to find health-related applications for wearable objects that integrate into a total healthcare infrastructure.