Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc practically has a hand in every pie in all the fields of human endeavor. One of its divisions, Verily Life Sciences is concerned with using technology to understand and improve human health by merging technology and life sciences. Now, Alphabet’s Verily wants to create minute robots that can cure diseases by deepening research on Bioelectronics as the next phase in solving medical problems.
Alphabet to use Bioelectronics to cure diseases
Verily and GlaxoSmithKline have reportedly reached an agreement to form a new firm that will develop bioelectronics. Biolectronics is concerned with how electrical signals can be used to fight off diseases in the human body. GlaxoSmithKline and Verily will contributed 540 million pounds ($715 million) over the next seven year to the new firm which will be 55% owned by GSK and 45% owned by Verily.
Moncef Slaoui, GSK’s chairman of global vaccines explains how Bioelectronics work in a statement. He says, “Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system and the body’s organs, which may become distorted in many chronic diseases… Bioelectronic medicine’s vision is to employ the latest advances in biology and technology to interpret this electrical conversation and to correct the irregular patterns found in disease states, using miniaturised devices attached to individual nerves.”
The new company called Galvani Bioelectronics will have research facilities in the UK and San Francisco. Kris Famm, GSK’s head of bioelectronics research and president of the new firm revealed that they plan to have the first bioelectronics ready for regulatory approval in the next years. In his words, “We have had really promising results in animal tests, where we’ve shown we can address some chronic diseases with this mechanism, and now we are bringing that work into the clinic.”
Will Alphabet’s bets pay off?
Alphabet underwent a restructuring last year to separate its core Google business from other moonlighting projects or “bets” as they are called. The bets are innovative/new projects from which the firm hopes to unlock its next billion-dollar opportunity.
One of Alphabet’s bet is working on self-driving cars, another bet is building drones, and another bet wants to extend human life. Verily is one of the few bets at that has the brightest prospects at Alphabet. Verily is developing a “Smart Contact Lens” with an embedded glucose sensor that people with diabetes can use to measure glucose level in their tears continuously.
It is still a little too early to make a verdict on whether the firm’s bets will pay off or not. However, it is obvious that the restructuring that led to the creation of the bets has improved Alphabet’s stock in the investment community. The shares of Alphabet currently trade at $800.12 per share and the stock has gained 21.79% since its restructuring last year. The stock has tracked the general stock market this year and it sports 2.84% year-to-date gains.