Sanofi, Google to collaborate on new digital technology and tools for diabetes

Sanofi and the life sciences team at Google, which recently became a standalone company within Google's Alphabet, announced a partnership Monday under which the companies will use data and miniaturised technology to provide patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes more tools to self-manage their disease. Sanofi CEO Olivier Brandicourt said "this initiative combines Sanofi's strength and knowledge in diabetes with Google's leadership in technology and analytics to create a first-of-its-kind initiative with the potential to transform diabetes care."

Specifically, Sanofi and Google aim to develop new kinds of interventions by "[bringing] together many of the previously 'siloed' pieces of diabetes management," including indicators such as blood glucose and HbA1c levels, patient-reported information, medication regimens and sensor devices. "The collaboration will pair Sanofi's leadership in diabetes treatments and devices with Google's expertise in analytics, miniaturised electronics and low-power chip design," the companies said.

Andy Conrad, CEO of the life sciences team at Google, said that "with new technologies emerging to provide a more continuous and real-time view of a patient's health, we can see the promise for more proactive and effective ways to control diabetes." He suggested that "with Sanofi, we can complete the picture of how diabetes unfolds and try to interrupt that development." Conrad also said Sanofi's experience making insulin could help Google design smaller, Internet-connected devices able to automatically adjust insulin doses in response to blood-glucose readings or prescribed patient exercise regimes.

Pascale Witz, named head of the global diabetes and cardiovascular care business under Sanofi's recently reorganised structure, will lead the Google collaboration, whose financial terms were not disclosed. Witz said "we have built expertise in providing holistic, integrated solutions that combine medicines, devices, technologies and services," adding that Google's life sciences team "can help us improve the patient experience, outcomes and manage healthcare costs more effectively."

In January 2014, Google's life sciences unit unveiled a smart contact lens designed to monitor glucose levels in tears. Novartis' Alcon eye-care unit later in-licensed the technology for ocular medical uses, with an initial focus on diabetes and presbyopia. The Swiss drugmaker plans to advance the device into large-scale human trials overseen by the FDA in 2016. Meanwhile, DexCom recently entered into an agreement with Google's life sciences division to co-develop a series of next-generation continuous glucose monitoring products.

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