The Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is fast gaining pace as pharma companies look to innovate and keep up with technology to help patients and physicians better monitor and track diseases. With a couple of deals being announced this month, IoMT seems like the future of healthcare.
IoMT – A Healthcare Revolution
IoMT involves the bringing together of technology and medical devices and applications. Chronic diseases which require frequent monitoring can be tracked effectively so that patients receive timely and proper treatment. It is already a part of our daily lives in the form of wearable devices like Apple Watch, Fitbit and Samsung S Health which help users achieve their fitness and health targets.
Pharma and tech companies are now taking things a step further and are collaborating to make devices that can track chronic and lifestyle associated diseases like diabetes which are growing at a fast pace.
In fact, the scope for innovation in this area is endless -- contact lenses that can detect glucose levels, a device that can monitor caloric intake, bioelectronic medicines that can tackle and maybe treat a wide range of chronic diseases, robotic-assisted surgery – all these are actually some of the widely interesting areas covered by IoMT.
As more deals between pharma and tech companies get announced, it makes sense to take a look at some of the key players in this rapidly evolving area.
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA - Analyst Report) signed up with Intel Corporation (INTC - Analyst Report) in mid-September to develop a wearable device and machine learning platform that can be used in Huntington disease (HD). Patients in an ongoing study will use a smartphone and wear a smartwatch equipped with sensing technology which will continuously monitor their general functioning and movement. The data will be wirelessly streamed to a cloud-based platform specifically developed by Intel to analyze data from wearable devices. The data will then be translated in near real-time into objective scores of motor symptom severity which in turn will help improve understanding regarding disease progression and the impact of treatment. Intel is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
INTEL CORP Price and Consensus
Another pharma-tech deal that made news this month is the joint venture (JV) between French drugmaker, Sanofi (SNY - Analyst Report) , and Verily Life Sciences, an Alphabet (GOOGL - Analyst Report) company. The JV, Onduo, will be focused on the development of comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management for diabetics. Sanofi’s expertise in diabetes will be combined with Verily’s experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development.
Qualcomm Incorporated (QCOM - Analyst Report) is another company that is quite active in the area of healthcare Internet of Things (IoT). Through its subsidiary Qualcomm Life, Inc., Qualcomm recently signed a deal with Boehringer Ingelheim that will see the companies collaborating to improve chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) care. The deal covers the development of a connectivity solution for Boehringer's Respimat inhaler to help improve COPD treatment outcomes.
Earlier this year, Qualcomm had signed up with Swiss pharma giant, Novartis AG (NVS - Analyst Report) -- under the deal, Qualcomm Life will provide a technology solution for the connectivity of the next generation of Novartis’ Breezhaler, a device used for the company’s COPD treatments.
Meanwhile, Sanofi is not the only pharma company to be collaborating with Verily. British pharma company GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK - Analyst Report) is setting up Galvani Bioelectronics in collaboration with Verily for the development of bioelectronic medicines. Bioelectronic medicine is a pretty new scientific field involving the use of miniaturized, implantable devices that can modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body, including irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses.
According to Glaxo, which has been active in this field over the last four years, chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes and asthma could potentially be treated using these devices.
With technology touching most aspects of our lives, it won’t be surprising to see more such collaborations going forward. According to a report issued by P&S Market Research earlier this year, the global IoT in Healthcare market was valued at approximately $24.7 billion in 2014, and is expected to grow 37.6% (CAGR) during 2015 - 2020.
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