A new technology that embeds non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturised electronics into contact lenses will significantly benefit people living with diabetes and presbyopia.
Novartis’ Alcon eyecare division has agreed to licence Google’s smart lens technology with the aim of developing and commercialising the technology, to manage human diseases and conditions.
According to reports, Novartis is particularly interested in focusing the technology in two areas:
“Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body’s glucose levels via a “smart contact lens” which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device.
“For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the “smart lens” has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye’s natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.”
Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said these two areas of focus are just the beginning. “We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs… This is a key step for us to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye.”
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, said, “Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturisation of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people. We are very excited to work with Novartis to make this dream come true.”
Jeff George, division head of Alcon, said both companies share a passion for innovation. “By combining Alcon’s leadership in eye care and expertise in contact lenses and intraocular lenses with Google’s innovative “smart lens” technology and ground-breaking speed in research, we aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world,” he said.
The agreement is subject to anti-trust approvals.