Trade Resources Industry Views Google Medtech News

Google Medtech News

Posted in Mobile Health by Chris Newmarker on January 30, 2015

Why would two women who visit the doctor with identical early symptoms of multiple sclerosis have vastly different outcomes 10 years later?

That’s what pharmaceutical maker Biogen Idec Inc. wants to know. The drug company, which makes five MS drugs, has begun working with Google X Life Sciences to study outside factors that affect MS patients over time, according to a report by Bloomberg.

The Cambridge, MA, company and Google will use novel sensor platforms, advanced laboratory science, and bio-analytical tools to study the drivers of MS progression, Biogen announced in its statement of fourth-quarter results. Both companies remained mum on most details of the deal, but a Google exec said it would likely last for years.

See Babak Parviz, former Google X director and now a vice president at Amazon, deliver a keynote address at MD&M West, in Anaheim, CA, February 10-12, 2015.

MS interrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the rest of the body. Symptoms range from reduced or lost mobility to numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, according to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

The disease affects more than 2.3 million worldwide, most of whom are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, the nonprofit organization’s website says.

Biogen has already run a Fitbit study to determine if the fitness wearable might reliably gather data, and is developing an iPad app with Cleveland Clinic to help physicians assess the progress of patients’ disease, the Bloomberg report said. Rick Rudick, Biogen’s vice president of development sciences previously directed Cleveland Clinic’s MS program.

The iPad app measures cognitive speed using video game-style tests, and graphic-based tests that assess a patient's vision, according to an earlier Bloomberg report. The Cleveland Clinic will begin testing the app this spring, the report said.

Andrew Conrad, head of Google X’s Life Sciences division, told Bloomberg that he wants Google X to “be an R&D partner for pharma.”

The secretive long-term research arm of Google broke into medical device wearables for chronic diseases in January 2014 when it announced it was developing glucose-reading contact lenses for diabetics. In September 2014, Google acquired Lift Labs, a company that makes a tremor-cancelling cutlery device to help Parkinson’s patients eat.

Contribute Copyright Policy
More Google Medtech News: They Want to Tackle MS