Monday, November 17, 2014

"World's top drugmaker Novartis takes aim at tech" (NVS; AAPL; GOOG)

Yeah that's gonna happen when large, well-funded, science-based corporations look to make a buck.
And I bet it's easier for NVS to do wearables than it is for The Goog to come up with a next-gen macular degeneration treatment.

Via the Thompson Reuters Foundation:
* CEO sees wearable technology as integral to healthcare
* Novartis already has Google contact lens, smart pill deals
* Seeking new ways to improve monitoring, data collection
* Push comes as tech companies seek health apps for devices

Talent spotters from Novartis AG , charged with bringing new ideas into the organisation, are casting their net beyond biotech into the wider pool of wearable, or even edible, technology.

It's not that the world's biggest drugmaker by sales wants to make the next smart watch. Rather, its researchers are seeking fresh ways to monitor exactly how the company's medicines are working and being taken by patients.

Chief Executive Joe Jimenez predicts this will be an integral part of running a big pharmaceutical company in the coming decade, as rising healthcare demand coupled with limited budgets force drugmakers to generate hard data to prove their drugs are delivering results.

The Swiss group has already taken tentative steps, signing a deal with Google Inc in July to develop contact lenses to help diabetics track blood glucose levels or restore the eye's ability to focus.

It also has an agreement with privately held Proteus Digital Health to develop tablets containing embedded microchips that can tell if patients have taken their medication.
Its ambitions, however, stretch a lot further.

"We've done more than most but certainly not enough. You're going to see a continued focus from this company that will be quite technology agnostic," Jimenez said in an interview during an FT pharmaceutical conference in London.

"It may be niche today but in the future I think it is going to be front and centre as to how diseases are managed."

The interest comes at a time when technology companies are increasingly pushing from the other direction in an effort to find new ways for patients to monitor their own health and track chronic conditions using smart devices.

Businesses such as Apple Inc, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Google are all trying to find health-related applications for their wearable products....MORE