Novartis Partners with Google for Smart Lens Technology
Novartis announced that its eye care division Alcon has entered into an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to in-license its “smart lens” technology for all ocular medical uses. The agreement with Google[x], a team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to large global problems, 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 transaction remains subject to antitrust approvals.
Novartis says 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 advances in the miniaturization of electronics complement Novartis’ pharmaceuticals and medical-device expertise. Novartis aims to enhance the ways in which diseases are mapped within the body and ultimately prevent disease.
â€‹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 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.
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.