Novartis to join forces with Google, launch human tests for 'smart' contacts
- Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez told a Swiss newspaper recently that the pharma giant plans to initiate human testing, alongside partner Google, on a "smart" contact lens in 2016.
- The technology is being described as "auto-focus" for the eyes, with the aim of helping patients with presbyopia (i.e., far-sightedness that accompanies aging).
- That's not the only contact lens-related R&D venture that Novartis is undertaking with Google. The pharma giant is also developing a different type of "smart" contact to monitor blood glucose levels in diabetic patients.
Google has been steadily moving into the biopharma game over the last several years, and this Novartis-partnered contact project is just the latest in a series of collaborations the soon-to-be tech congolomerate has struck with large pharmaceutical and biotech companies.
Jimenez believes that after human testing launches next year for the smart contacts, it will take about five years for the product to hit the market.
Among Google's other pharma ventures is a deal to tackle age-related diseases with AbbVie (via Google's neurosciences arm Calico).