Google, Biogen Idec partnering to study causes of multiple sclerosis
- Using sensors, software and data analysis, Google [x] and Biogen Idec, a leader in multiple sclerosis (MS) therapeutics, will collect data of people with MS and seek to understand what contributes to the disease—and why it progresses so differently from person to person, according to a report from Bloomberg.
- This collaboration is the second major pharma partnership for Google [x], which has recently forayed into the healthcare space with the goal of changing health care from being "reactive to proactive," according to the Head of Life Sciences, Andrew Conrad.
- Google [x] anticipates that this will be a multiyear project.
The Google [x] Life Sciences division is comprised of 150 scientists, including astrophysicists, theoretical mathematicians, oncologists, immunologists, electrical engineers and computer scientists. In July 2014, Google [x] partnered with Novartis with the goal of co-developing smart contact-lens technology for use in two areas—putting the "smart" contact lenses in the eyes of individuals with diabetes to measure glucose levels in the body, as well as helping restore autofocus capabilities in people with presbyopia.
With this second venture into the healthcare space, Google [x] endeavors to help uncover information about which environmental and biological factors may contribute to the development and progression of MS. This is more relevant than ever as the cost of current treatments for MS—current therapies treat symptoms, but do not provide a cure—have become increasingly expensive.