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Novartis and Google to fund ‘robotic pill’ maker

Firms sign up to Rani Therapeutics’ new drug delivery system

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Google and Novartis have become the latest firms to help fund the early stage development of a new 'robotic pill' that could change the face of drug administration.

Both companies will inject an undisclosed amount of cash to help Rani Therapeutics develop a new drug delivery system for complex biological drugs that would normally have to be given by injection.

Rani said it would run feasibility studies over the next two years to assess how certain biologic medicines from Novartis can be delivered into the bloodstream using its device.

The Rani capsule, which is swallowed like a conventional pill, contains tiny needles made of sugar that are pushed into the wall of the intestine to deliver the drug.

Mir Imran, chairman and CEO of Rani Therapeutics, said: “We are entering into an exciting new stage of growth for Rani, and this funding will help us continue to de-risk our platform and create the manufacturing infrastructure we need for clinical trials and beyond.

“We are committed to delivering on our promise to radically transform how biologic drugs are delivered to millions of patients, and this financing is an important step forward.”

“Today we are in an age where advances in life sciences are increasing at an unprecedented rate,” said Blake Byers, General Partner at Google Ventures.

“We are excited by the team's strong track record in pre-clinical studies and look forward to the day Rani will improve the lives of patients.”

Other investors in this financing include The Stevanato Group, Crystal Horizon Investments, Pinemount Investments, and Pacific Venture Opportunity Fund, as well as Buttonwood Funds, which joined as a follow-on investor.

In 2013 Novartis also signed a deal with Google to develop contact lenses to help diabetics track blood glucose levels.

Article by
Ben Adams

28th May 2015

From: Research

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