Alphabet’s Verily joins with with French drug firm to improve diabetes management

Bruce Brown
Alphabet’s Verily joins with with French drug firm to improve diabetes management
Amid worldwide predictions of increasing cases of diabetes, French drug company Sanofi and Alphabet's Verily are launching a joint venture called Onduo to improve diabetes management. The two companies will invest $500 million in the new company.

Diabetes is on the rise and a new joint venture was just formed to fight it. Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences division and French pharmaceutical company Sanofi are each investing a quarter billion dollars in a new company called Onduo, according to Bloomberg.

Onduo’s mission is helping people with diabetes live full, healthy lives. The new company, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is led by CEO Joshua Riff, according to a joint press release from Sanofi and Verily. Dr. Riff was previously senior vice president of prevention and well-being at Optum, a division of UnitedHealth.

Related: Artificial pancreas that uses smartphone app and sensor may be diabetes game-changer

“My experience as a physician and in leading consumer health initiatives has shown me the daily burden of living with diabetes,” said Dr. 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.”

Onduo’s plan is to develop “comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management.”

Initially, the joint venture will focus on type 2 diabetes to help people with the disease make improved lifestyle decisions, manage their medication, and improve their overall health. The second thrust will be to help people with type 1 diabetes manage their condition. The final focus will be on prediabetes, helping people at risk to avoid developing type 2 diabetes.

Sanofi’s clinical trials experience and work in helping patients with diabetes manage their disease will combine with Verily’s strengths in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development.

“The beauty of the joint venture in a way is that we don’t rely on the typical 10-year development cycle of a pharmaceutical asset,” said Stefan Oelrich, senior vice president at Sanofi. “We start to innovate today.”