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GSK and Google launch bioelectronics venture

Will develop electronic implants to treat chronic diseases, including diabetes

GlaxoSmithKline has joined forces with Google's Verily Life Sciences to establish a new company dedicated to the development of bioelectronic medicines.

Galvani Bioelectronics - named for the 18th century Italian bioelectricity pioneer - will combine GSK's drug discovery and development expertise in disease biology with Verily's expertise in highly miniaturised technologies, including data analytics and software development for clinical application.

Moncef Slaoui, chairman of global vaccines at GSK and chair of the newly-created biotech, said: “Together, we can rapidly accelerate the pace of progress in this exciting field, to develop medicines that truly speak the electrical language of the body.”

Bioelectronic medicine is concerned with the electrical signals firing between the body's nervous system and organs, working to regulate the faulty nerve impulses that occur in many illnesses.

The new R&D undertaking will work on establishing clinical evidence for the use of electronic implants in inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders and subsequently developing the associated implants.

GSK, which has been researching bioelectronics since 2012, believes that conditions such as arthritis, asthma and diabetes - including type 2 diabetes for which there is already sizeable data in animal models - could potentially be treated using such devices.

The UK pharma firm will own 55% of Galvani Bioelectronics, while Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences and a member of the Alphabet group) will hold the remaining 45%. Both companies will invest existing intellectual property into the biotech, as well as a total of £540m across a seven-year period.

Galvani Bio will be headquartered at GSK's global research and development centre in Stevenage in the UK, with an additional research hub based at Verily's facilities in San Francisco, collectively employing 30 scientists, engineers and clinicians.

Kris Famm, GSK's vice president of bioelectronics R&D, has been named president of the new company, supported by a board of seven directors which includes Verily's chief executive Andrew Conrad.

Article by
Rebecca Clifford

1st August 2016

From: Research



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