Google and Novartis, a Swiss pharmaceutical and health company, have signed a deal for Novartis to license Google’s smart contacts when they come to market. We first caught wind of the Google[x] project last year, when Google revealed that it was working to develop smart contacts that could track glucose levels and relay the findings to a smartphone. The technology in smart contact lenses has potential to be game changing, but won’t go anywhere if Google doesn’t have partners.
By combining Alcon's leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google's innovative 'smart lens' technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world.Jeff GeorgeAlcon
Novartis is an established brand with a great record in the world of ocular devices. Partnerships with companies like Novartis will allow Google’s smart contacts to make it to market and also have some medical clout behind them to help get them into the eyes of consumers. Novartis also has bigger plans for the device than simply helping diabetics. A primary focus will be working to use the contacts to restore the natural autofocus of the eye, allowing the contacts to help diabetics and those with eye problems.
Smart contacts still have a long way to go before they make it to market, but this partnership is a step in the right direction. With Google and other companies working hard on new technologies to simplify life, the future could be quite bright.Show Press Release
The agreement between Google and Alcon represents an important step for Novartis, across all of its divisions, to leverage technology to manage human diseases and conditions. Google’s key advances in the miniaturization of electronics complement Novartis’s deep pharmaceuticals and medical device expertise. Novartis aims to enhance the ways in which diseases are mapped within the body and ultimately prevented.
“We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs,” said Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez. “This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.”
“Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturization of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people,” said Sergey Brin, Co-Founder, Google. “We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”
Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a “smart lens” that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses. Novartis’ interest in this technology is currently focused in two areas:
Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body’s glucose levels via a “smart contact lens” which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device;
For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the “smart lens” has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye’s natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.
The agreement marries Google’s expertise in miniaturized electronics, low power chip design and microfabrication with Alcon’s expertise in physiology and visual performance of the eye, clinical development and evaluation, as well as commercialization of contact and intraocular lenses. Through the collaboration, Alcon seeks to accelerate product innovation based on Google’s “smart lens” technology.
“Alcon and Google have a deep and common passion for innovation,” said Jeff George, Division Head of Alcon. “By combining Alcon’s leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google’s innovative “smart lens” technology and groundbreaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world.”