Ever since Google took the giant step of separating their company into smaller components, all under the umbrella Alphabet corporation, Google has been taking some quiet, yet monumental steps leaps forward. Maybe it started as a quiet attempt to appease shareholders, directed by Ruth Porat, or maybe it was formed to better truly represent what Google was doing, but whatever the motivation behind it, the result has been unmistakable. Alphabet is now able to spin off previous research in a more productive capacity, and they’re not afraid to flex their muscles, but the characteristically tight lipped Google is not yet revealing much, leaving most of us in the dark. Most of the information we have on the new company was provided by Google co-founder Sergey Brin in a Google+ post last month.
It’s a huge undertaking, and I am delighted to announce that the life sciences team is now ready to graduate from our X lab and become a standalone Alphabet company, with Andy Conrad as CEO. While the reporting structure will be different, their goal remains the same. They’ll continue to work with other life sciences companies to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing—and, hopefully—transform the way we detect, prevent, and manage disease.
– Sergey Brin
What they have shared though pertains to their Life Sciences Division. Previously, this was an integrated part to Google X, but since the formation of Alphabet, the Life Sciences Division now functions as a unique entity, yet still a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alphabet. Since this spinoff, they’ve reported work on a new device meant to help diabetics better control their condition. Currently diabetics have to rely on a series of blood draws per day that are usually accomplished through a finger prick. The process is uncomfortable, expensive, and inconvenient overall, despite minor advances in the process over the recent years. Alphabet’s Life Sciences company is attempting to change the game by making diabetes the first major focus of the new company.
Jacquelyn Miller, spokeswoman for Google Life Sciences explained to NPR member station KQED in an interview that “It’s really hard for people to manage their blood sugar [and] we’re hoping to take some of the guesswork out of it.” Google co-founded Sergey Brin confirmed in his Google+ post that Google has been working on a diabetes project for some 3 years, currently culminating in a contact lens, meant to help people control their blood sugar levels without the need for a blood draw. It works by using a built in sensor that is capable of measuring a person’s glucose levels in their tears.
While Google may be attempting to capitalize on the 240+ billion-dollar diabetes research market, it seems more likely that Google is simply addressing a medical issue that affects hundreds of millions of people currently, so the market share is there to justify the R&D expenditures. Will the project be successful? Considering that Google has partnered with Sanofi, Dexcom, and Novartis, all major players in the diabetes management industry, it seems safe to assume so.
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