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Novartis and Google collaborate to develop ‘Smart Contact Lenses’

Authored by James Sheppard

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis, and the global technology giant Google, have announced that they are to collaborate to develop ‘smart’ contact lenses hat would help diabetics track their blood glucose levels or restore the eyes ability to focus.

The contact lens would measure glucose levels in tear fluid and send the data wirelessly to a mobile device. Novartis has billed the technology as potentially life-changing for diabetics who at present are required to prick their fingers up to 10 times a day to monitor blood glucose levels. If the technology is successful it will allow Novartis to compete in a global blood-sugar tracking market which is estimated to be worth in excess of $12bn by 2017.

The second element to the partnership is centred on presbyopia, in which aging eyes have trouble focusing on close objects. Novartis & Google hope the lens technology will help to restore the eye’s ability to focus, much like an autofocus on a camera.

Joseph Jimenez, CEO of Novartis said, ‘The partnership combines Google’s 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.’

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