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Google parent and Sanofi partner on connected diabetes management

Data-driven, connected diabetes management is the focus of a new joint venture between Alphabet’s subsidiary Verily Life Sciences and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi.

Developing a comprehensive, data-driven, connected diabetes management platform will be the goal of Onduo, the joint digital healthcare company formed by French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi and Alphabet’s subsidiary Verily Life Sciences LLC – formerly known as Google Life Sciences. Verily will contribute its experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics and consumer software development and Sanofi its clinical expertise and experience in bringing innovative treatments to people living with diabetes, Sanofi stated. Verily and Sanofi are investing about $500 million in the joint venture, according to Reuters.

Onduo will initially focus on developing solutions to improve the life of people affected by type 2 diabetes. People affected by type 2 diabetes spend an estimated two hours daily on self-care. Over time, the company will expand its focus to include the type 1 diabetes community and eventually also people at risk of developing diabetes. It was estimated that a total of 422 million people suffered from diabetes in 2014.

“The integration of multiple interventions, such as data-driven patient support and devices in addition to treatment, can help improve outcomes, which is important from the perspective of patients, healthcare professionals and the overall healthcare system,” said Peter Guenter, executive vice president, head Global Diabetes and Cardiovascular Business Unit at Sanofi. “The new company Sanofi and Verily invested in will adopt a more service-centric approach and support doctors in their efforts to treat their patients more effectively. In addition to developing innovative therapies for diabetes which will remain a key focus for Sanofi, we see these solutions which combine innovative therapies and services as the future for diabetes care.  We believe this will help societies cope with the burden of this epidemic,” he added.

Sutter Health of Northern California, which cares for more than three million patients, and Allegheny Health Network of western Pennsylvania, with more than 1,100 employed physicians, are the first healthcare networks to be involved in Onduo’s product development process. They will both help test the Onduo platform with healthcare professionals and people with type 2 diabetes in a clinical care setting. In addition, Onduo will be seeking input on future product designs from patient advocacy groups such as Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD). “Our goal is to connect the dots for health care providers on the ‘moments of truth’ that happen outside of the clinical setting, and to help people manage diabetes on a daily basis.  Our collaborations with health networks like Sutter Health and Allegheny Health will help bring that vision to life,” said Jessica Mega, M.D., M.P.H., chief medical officer of Verily.

Dr. Joshua Riff, M.D, M.B.A., was named CEO of Onduo, which will be based in Kendall Square in Cambridge. Prior to joining Onduo, Riff held the position of senior vice president of prevention and wellbeing at UnitedHealth Group’s health services company Optum. “My experience as a physician and in leading consumer health initiatives has shown me the daily burden of living with diabetes,” said Dr.  Joshua Riff. “From monitoring food intake to testing glucose levels to actively seeking medical care, the challenges both on the physical and mental well-being of a person living with diabetes are incredibly difficult. We want to develop solutions that allow people living with diabetes to focus on the things they love and enjoy in life by providing tools to make dealing with their diabetes less burdensome.”

Alphabet’s Moonshot investments coming to fruition

Recent collaborations between Alphabet subsidiaries and big pharmaceutical companies indicate that Alphabet’s so-called moonshot investments are starting to come to fruition. In March 2015, Johnson & Johnson announced an agreement to collaborate with Google to advance surgical robotics. At the beginning of August this year, GSK announced it was to team up with Verily to establish Galvani Bioelectronics, a new company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines. These partnerships also show that large pharmaceutical companies are now looking into more holistic approaches to care, including data-driven, connected care, to drive sales of traditional medications.

IIoT News Recap: Mercedes-Benz to invest $562 million in connected van strategy; South Korea and the U.S. to collaborate on 5G frequency policies; Volvo’s Drive Me project is now live; Today’s forecast: autonomous driving car sales

connected diabetes management
Mercedes-Benz Vision Van

Connected cars: Mercedes-Benz to invest $562 million in connected van strategy

Mercedes-Benz Vans has unveiled adVANce, a new strategy for the van of the future. The German car maker will be investing approximately $562 million (€500 million) over the coming five years in digitization, automation, robotics (including drones) and mobility solutions in vans. To realize its vision, Mercedes-Benz is setting up a new business division working with startups in Stuttgart, Berlin and Silicon Valley. “To live up to the dramatic changes in our sector, we adapt our ‘MercedesBenz Vans goes global’ strategy and expand it beyond the product and untapped international markets. We are focusing our attention beyond the vehicle on the entire value chain and business environment of our customers. We provide transport solutions for the digital age and evolve the van into an intelligent, interconnected data centre on wheels. In order to do this, we are investing around half a billion euros over the next five years, and we created a separate organisational unit. So far, this approach is unique within the van sector,” said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans, in a statement. 

5G: South Korea and the U.S. to collaborate on 5G frequency policies

South Korea and the U.S. have agreed to reinforce their cooperation on 5G, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and cybersecurity, Business Korea reports. Collaboration between the two countries will cover 5G frequencies as Korea’s private sector initiative “5G Forum” enters a collaboration with the U.S.’s “5G America”.

Autonomous driving: Volvo’s Drive Me project is now live

Drive Me, Volvo Cars’s autonomous driving project, officially started as the car maker produced the very first autonomous XC90 SUV that will be used in the project, Volvo Cars announced. As part of Drive Me, regular families in Sweden’s Gothenburg will be handed autonomous Volvo vehicles to be driven on public roads. “This is an important milestone for the Drive Me project,” said Erik Coelingh, senior technical leader Active Safety at Volvo Cars. “Customers look at their cars differently than us engineers, so we are looking forward to learn how they use these cars in their daily lives and what feedback they will give us.”

Today’s forecast: 12 million autonomous cars sold annually by 2035

BCG Analysis estimates that more than 12 million fully autonomous vehicles will be sold annually by 2035. In addition, 18 million partially autonomous vehicles will be sold annually globally by then. The consulting firm expects the market for partially and fully autonomous vehicles to grow from $42 billion in 2025 to nearly $77 billion in 2035, capturing 25 percent of the new car market.

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