Biogen Idec, Google Partner in MS R&D

Biogen Idec and Google[x] Life Sciences have begun a partnership to explore drivers of multiple sclerosis disease progression through investigational technologies and methods, such as novel sensor platforms, advanced laboratory science, and bio-analytical tools. Biogen Idec made the announcement as part of the company’s 2014 earnings release.

Google[x], is a part of Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to large global problems, which includes a life sciences focus. In 2014, Alcon, the eye-care division of Novartis, partnered with Google to in-license Google’s “smart lens” technology for ocular medical uses.The agreement with Google[x] provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google’s “smart lens” technology with respect to eye care and further enhance Alcon’s pipeline and position in contact lenses and intraocular lenses. . The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips, and other miniaturized electronics that 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; and 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.

Also in 2014, AbbVie formed a $1.5-billion R&D collaboration with Calico, a Google-backed life sciences company that is led by Arthur D. Levinson PhD. (former chairman and CEO of Genentech) and Hal V. Barron, MD. (former executive vice president and chief medical officer of Genentech). Under the pact, the companies will work to discover, develop, and market new therapies to treat age-related diseases, including for neurodegeneration and cancer. The deal included funding for to establish a research and development facility in the San Francisco Bay Area. AbbVie and Calico initially provided up to $250 million to fund the collaboration with the potential for both sides to contribute an additional $500 million. Calico will be responsible for research and early development during the first five years and continue to advance collaboration projects through Phase IIa for a ten-year period. AbbVie will support Calico in its early R&D efforts and, following completion of Phase IIa studies, will have the option to manage late-stage development and commercial activities. Both parties will share costs and profits equally.

Source: Biogen Idec

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