Alphabet pauses diabetes-diagnosing contact lens project
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Alphabet pauses diabetes-diagnosing contact lens project

Verily, Silicon Valley heavyweight Alphabet’s experimental medical tech unit, has announced that it’s putting the development of a diabetes-diagnosing contact lens on hold. The project – one of its longest running – was originally heralded as a potential breakthrough in mass healthcare. It would have worked like this: advanced technology in the lens itself would read blood glucose levels from the wearer’s eye moisture. The benefits could have been huge: instant detection, and a reduction in the resources used to test people for the illness every year.

Alphabet’s share price has increased by 2% over the last 5 days

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Source: Yahoo Finance

Verily, which was working on the lens alongside Novartis AG’s Alcon unit, explained the difficulty as one of accuracy: they couldn’t get the experimental lens to deliver assessments consistently enough for use as a medical device. In a blog post, the company wrote: “There was insufficient consistency in our measurements of the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device. We are at a point where we have decided, together with Alcon, to put the glucose-sensing lens work on hold.”

Although not officially cancelled, Verily will cease all work on the experimental lens, and focus its resources elsewhere instead. Areas of interest include another blood glucose measurer that it’s developing with DexCom Inc., and a contact lens for people with presbyopia (a term that refers to the natural age-related degeneration of the eye, and is responsible for reading glasses, bifocals, and more). The company is also working on an “intraocular lens” to help improve eyesight after cataract surgery.

Disclosure
Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Managed Fund.


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