JV to focus on high-tech medicine research
GlaxoSmithKline Plc, the UK’s biggest drugmaker, is forming a joint venture with Google parent Alphabet Inc’s life-sciences business to research and develop bioelectronic medicines.
Glaxo will hold a 55 percent stake in the venture, called Galvani Bioelectronics, and Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences LLC will hold 45 percent, according to a statement on Monday. The companies will make an investment ofupto 540 million pounds ($715 million) over seven years, subject to completion of milestones.
Glaxo is seeking to find new sources of revenue growth as its blockbuster respiratory treatment Advair faces the threat of generics in the US Bioelectronic medicine is a new field that aims to tackle chronic diseases using miniature, implanted devices that modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body. Glaxo’s researchers believe conditions like arthritis, diabetes and asthma could be treated using these devices.
Verily aims to use technology to develop software and hardware for the healthcare field. It is one of Alphabet Inc’s most important newventures, residing in the tech giant’s Other Bets division alongside smart-home device maker Nest and fast internet service provider Fiber.
In the second quarter, Other Bets generated $185 million in revenue and Alphabet Chief Financial OfficerRuthPorat said that mostly came from Nest, Fiber and Verily, in that order.
Verily has worked extensively with traditional pharmaceutical companies, such as developing smart contact lenses that can measure glucose with Novartis AG and helping Biogen Inc study the progression of multiple sclerosis with sensors and data analysis tools.