The nearly $500 million joint venture became official Monday with the announcement of a new company, Onduo, which will leverage Sanofi’s experience in diabetes drugs with Verily’s expertise in software development, electronics and analytics. Verily is a division of Alphabet Inc., the parent company of Google.
Onduo will initially focus on Type II diabetes, which accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases worldwide. The company will be led by Joshua Riff, MD, MBA, former executive at UnitedHealth Group’s Optum and will be based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“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,” Riff said in a press release. “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.”
The announcement comes after more than a year of talks about potential high-tech devices to improve diabetes, a lucrative area health research because of a need for constant monitoring and disease growth. The disease is expected to affect 592 million people worldwide by 2035.
Stefan Olerich, head of diabetes at Sanofi, told the Wall Street Journal Onduo seeks to bring these separate efforts for diabetes treatment together into a single product. The manufacturer has seen declines in revenue, in part because of pricing pressure in the United States.
Olerich said the collaboration could yield a new product much faster than traditional drug development and expects Onduo to launch its first product within two to three years.