Google's Verily Unveils Device to Gather Health Info of People Participating in Clinical Trials in Filing

Google's Verily Unveils Device to Gather Health Info of People Participating in Clinical Trials in Filing
March 10, 2016
By Alex Keown, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – Verily, Google’s life sciences company, revealed images of its “Connectivity Bridge,” a device designed to sync and collect medical information for people participating in clinical studies in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week.

Business Insider, which first broke the information, reported the device is designed as a “wireless hub” to collect patient data from various sensors and upload the information to the cloud for analysis. Photos of the Connectivity Bridge indicate the device should be easily adaptable for use in a home or medical facility. The Connectivity Bridge was approved by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission last year. The device uses open source software and lets users charge and sync their Study Kit devices, Business Insider said.

Verily is the first of Google’s many “moon shot” companies to stand alone under its new Alphabet umbrella. Verily’s focus seems to be a combination of merging big data and healthcare, while at the same time developing various biological data monitors. Verily has developed several relationships with larger biotech companies, including Novartis , DexCom and Sanofi . Verily is working in the area of nanodiagnostics, a sort of baseline project that utilizes big data to assimilate all of a person’s genetic and healthcare data.

In September, Google teamed up with Novartis, one of the largest insulin makers in the world, to develop contact lenses to monitor blood glucose levels. The lens, as described on Jan. 16, 2014 on the official Google blog is “a smart contact lens that’s built to measure glucose levels in tears using a tiny wireless chip and miniaturized glucose sensor that are embedded between two layers of soft contact lens material.” The blog went on to indicate the company was testing prototypes that could create a reading every second and that might have integrated LED lights that would light up to warn the wearer when glucose levels were too high or low.

In August, Google and Paris-based Sanofi, another leader in diabetes therapies, teamed up on diabetes monitoring and treatments, although little was revealed about the partnership. Also in August, Google entered a partnership with DexCom (DXCM) to develop a Band-Aid sized wearable glucose monitor.

In January, Google and multiple sclerosis drug maker Biogen Idec teamed up to research and address environmental and genetic factors that can cause the debilitating disease multiple sclerosis.

Verily’s Connectivity Bridge will compete with data collection platforms from rival Apple . Apple is continuing to make moves in its healthcare division by developing wearable medical devices.

Wearable technology that collects health and fitness data is an important tool drug companies can tap into as eye treatments for various diseases. A massive amount of patient data would allow the companies to develop therapies and drugs that target disease at its source, which is part of the push toward precision medicine. The raw data will allow research scientists to study their genetics, environmental information and microbial information to learn how to individualize medical care. Apple’s technology has been on the cutting edge of data gathering to develop patient information. In April, Apple unveiled ResearchKit, a software framework designed for medical and health research that helps doctors, scientists and other researchers gather data more frequently and more accurately from participants using mobile devices. The app was met with enthusiasm as more than 60,000 iPhone users signed up with the app. The first research apps developed using ResearchKit study asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease. According to Apple, the open source framework allows any medical researcher to take advantage of the initial modules in ResearchKit to study health and wellness and better understand disease.

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