Verily and Alcon put glucose-sensing lens project on hold

19 November 2018 (Last Updated November 22nd, 2018 11:31)

US conglomerate Alphabet’s research-based subsidiary Verily has halted the glucose-sensing lens project with Novartis’ eye-care division Alcon.

Verily and Alcon put glucose-sensing lens project on hold
The clinical studies posed challenges in achieving the steady-state conditions that are needed to get reliable tear glucose readings. Credit: Dan Foy.

US conglomerate Alphabet’s research-based subsidiary Verily has halted the glucose-sensing lens project with Novartis’ eye-care division Alcon.

The partnership began in 2014 when Verily and Alcon started the project to put sensors on a contact lens to measure glucose levels for people affected by diabetes.

The company aimed to leverage Alcon’s expertise in lens development and manufacturing so they could turn lenses into medical device.

"Verily noted that the project faced challenges in obtaining accurate glucose readings from the small quantities of glucose in the tear film due to interference from biomolecules in tears."

In a blog post, Verily stated: “Our clinical work on the glucose-sensing lens demonstrated that 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.

“In part, this was associated with the challenges of obtaining reliable tear glucose readings in the complex on-eye environment.”

The company noted that the project faced challenges in obtaining accurate glucose readings from the small quantities of glucose in the tear film due to interference from biomolecules in tears.

Besides, the clinical studies posed challenges in achieving the steady state conditions required to obtain reliable tear glucose readings.

Despite hitting the pause button on the project, Verily stated that it will continue to focus on the smart accommodating contact lens and smart intraocular lens projects for presbyopia and for improving sight following cataract surgery, respectively.

Diabetes patients need to record blood glucose levels accurately to be able to take the right amount of insulin doses.

Verily is working closely with Dexcom for the development of miniaturised continuous glucose monitors.

Additionally, the company and its joint venture with Sanofi are working on a project to integrate continuous sensing into the care paradigm for people with Type 2 diabetes.