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Google, GSK invest $945m in Bioelectronics

Friday, 05 Aug 2016


Creating implantable chips to modify nerve signals.

Google is moving into the world of bioelectronic medicines by forming a $945 million offshoot with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Galvani Bioelectronics is the new company and it is 55 percent owned by GSK and 45 percent by Verily Life Sciences, which rebranded from Google Life Sciences.

The two parent companies will invest up to a combined £540 million ($945 million) over the next seven years in bioelectronics research, development and commercialisation.

Bioelectronic medicine aims to tackle a wide range of chronic diseases using miniaturised, implantable devices that can modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body.

The devices target irregular or altered impulses that occur in illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma.

“Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system and the body’s organs, which may become distorted in many chronic diseases,” GSK’s global vaccines chairman Moncef Slaoui said.

“Bioelectronic medicine’s vision is to employ the latest advances in biology and technology to interpret this electrical conversation and to correct the irregular patterns found in disease states, using miniaturised devices attached to individual nerves.

“If successful, this approach offers the potential for a new therapeutic modality alongside traditional medicines and vaccines.”

GSK has been involved in the space since 2012 but the tie-up with Google will afford it access to “technical expertise in the miniaturisation of low power electronics, device development, data analytics and software development for clinical applications.” 

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