Sanofi, Verily invest $500M in diabetes management joint venture Onduo

By Heather Mack
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Verily Life Sciences, a division of Google parent company Alphabet, has teamed up with French healthcare company Sanofi to launch Onduo, a diabetes-focused collaboration that leverages Sanofi’s pharmaceutical expertise and Verily’s command of miniaturized electronics, analytics and consumer software development. The two companies together invested about $500 million in Onduo.

The joint venture is based in Cambridge, Massachusetts and will combine a mix of devices, software, medicine and professional care to help people with diabetes manage their condition.

“The integration of multiple interventions, such as data-driven patient support and devices in addition to treatment, can help improve outcomes, which is important from the perspective of patients, healthcare professionals and the overall healthcare system," Peter Guenter, Sanofi’s executive vice president and head of the global diabetes and cardiovascular business unit said in a statement. “The new company Sanofi and Verily invested in will adopt a more service-centric approach and support doctors in their efforts to treat their patients more effectively.”

Initially, Onduo will focus on type 2 diabetes, specifically developing solutions that could provide people with the tools to make better decisions about their day-to-day health, such as medication management to improved behavioral habits. Eventually, Onduo plans to expand to type 1 diabetes as well.

“From monitoring food intake to testing glucose levels to actively seeking medical care, the challenges both on the physical and mental well-being of a person living with diabetes are incredibly difficult,” Dr. Joshua Riff, Onduo’s newly appointed CEO, said in a statement. “We want to develop solutions that allow people living with diabetes to focus on the things they love and enjoy life by providing tools to make dealing with their diabetes less burdensome.”

Onduo is taking a multi-stakeholder approach; bringing diabetes experts and advocates into the fold and involving payers and healthcare professionals. Sutter Health of Northern California and Allegheny Health Network of western Pennsylvania will collaborate with Verily and Onduo to test the platform in a clinical care setting, and Onduo is also looking to patient advocacy groups like Taking Control of Your Diabetes for insight.

“Our goal is to connect the dots for healthcare providers on the ‘moments of truth’ that happen outside of the clinical setting, and to help people manage diabetes on a daily basis,” Dr. Jessica Mega, chief medical officer of Verily said in a statement.

This isn’t Verily’s first partnership with a pharmaceutical company: just last month, it partnered with GlaxoSmithKline to create Galvani Biolectrics, a joint venture to develop implantable bioelectric machines. The company is also working with Dexcom on diabetes management.