Google’s Alphabet and GSK Forge $715 Million Bioelectronic Firm To Fight Diseases Without Meds

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Reuters: GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Google parent Alphabet’s life sciences unit are creating a new company focused on fighting diseases by targeting electrical signals in the body, jump-starting a novel field of medicine called bioelectronics. Verily Life Sciences — known as Google’s life sciences unit until last year — and Britain’s biggest drugmaker will together contribute 540 million pounds ($715 million) over seven years to Galvani Bioelectronics, they said on Monday. The new company, owned 55 percent by GSK and 45 percent by Verily, will be based at GSK’s Stevenage research center north of London, with a second research hub in South San Francisco. Galvani will develop miniaturized, implantable devices that can modify electrical nerve signals. The aim is to modulate irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses. GSK believes chronic conditions such as diabetes, arthritis and asthma could be treated using these tiny devices, which consist of a electronic collar that wraps around nerves. Kris Famm, GSK’s head of bioelectronics research and president of Galvani, said the first bioelectronic medicines using these implants to stimulate nerves could be submitted for regulatory approval by around 2023. GSK first unveiled its ambitions in bioelectronics in a paper in the journal Nature three years ago and believes it is ahead of Big Pharma rivals in developing medicines that use electrical impulses rather than traditional chemicals or proteins.


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