Verily, ResMed team up for joint sleep apnea venture

By Laura Lovett
03:45 pm

Alphabet subsidiary Verily is teaming up with well-known sleep company ResMed to form a new venture that will focus on developing sleep apnea treatments and connected health products. 

The latest venture will look at the health and financial impacts of sleep apnea. The companies plan on developing new software that will have advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities, Dr. Carlos Nunez, chief medical officer at ResMed, said in an email to MobiHealthNews. The plan is for the software to collect, organize, and activate health information more holistically, he said.

Exactly what the software will look like depends on the real-world evidence generated by the venture, according to the company. But the end goal is for the new software platform to make it easier for providers to diagnose, treat, and manage sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea, which is often undiagnosed, is a big concern among providers. 

“At ResMed, we say our greatest competitor is ignorance, meaning the greatest hurdle to giving patients the life-changing benefits of therapy is simply identifying, screening and diagnosing them,” Nunez wrote. “Right now, nearly 1 billion people worldwide have sleep apnea, and approximately 80 percent don’t know they have it, meaning they live every day with the immediate effects and long-term risks that come with this disease. ResMed and Verily’s joint venture intends to research and develop the type of software solutions that help healthcare providers identify these patients much more efficiently."

ResMed has been working on sleep apnea treatments for years. Some of their best known products the AirMini and S+. The sleep company was also part of SleepScore Labs, a joint venture with Dr. Oz Media and Pegasus Capital Advisors. Last fall it launched a non-contact sleep improvement device. 

Meanwhile Verily is still relatively new to the sleep apnea space. However, the venture fits in with their overarching goals. 

“Verily’s mission is to make the world’s health information useful so people can live happier, healthier lives — this partnership with ResMed is an opportunity to potentially impact the health of millions of patients who suffer from sleep apnea and other breathing-related sleep disorders,” Dr. Jessica Mega, chief medical officer and science officer at Verily, said in an email to MobiHealthNews. “An astounding number of people with OSA don’t know they have the condition, and go untreated, though we do know it’s present in many people with other chronic, life-threatening conditions including hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, atrial fibrillation, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity. The joint venture will explore new ways of identifying at-risk individuals quickly and develop engagement strategies that support patients and increase adherence to therapy.”

Although Verily isn’t a sleep-specific company, Mega said its expertise in machine learning and predictive analytics, as well as its ability to develop tech enabled platforms, is an asset to the venture that will compliment ResMed’s sleep expertise. She pointed out how these assets were incorporated in Onduo, an online diabetes coaching tool, which was a joint venture between Sanofi and Verily. 

Verily has dipped its toe into the sleep sector before. In April the company announced its Project Baseline study, a long-term collaboration with Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford Medicine that will compile a comprehensive health dataset. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the project will include under-the-mattress sensors that will monitor sleep habits. It will also let participants track their sleep habits. 

It also isn’t the first time that the Silicon-Valley company is teaming up with an established digital health company. In 2015 Verily and CGM company Dexcom revealed that they were working to develop the next generation of Dexcom’s CGM, with the goal of making it smaller and less expensive than others. Dexcom’s G6, which was cleared by the FDA in March, will be the base for the new platform. The technology is expected to launch by the end of 2018, with a second generation due out in 2020. 

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