GlaxoSmithKline is creating a new Joint Venture with Verily, the life sciences arm of Alphabet, Google's parent company, to form Galvani Bioelectronics. This new company (55% owned by GSK, 45% by Verily and with a plan for £540m of investment over the next 7 years) will be based in Stevenage, Hertfordshire to develop the emerging field of bioelectronic medicine.
This article in the Daily Telegraph provides a bit more information on background of the venture and the science behind these still-early-stage plans.
IN OUR VIEW
This tie-up is a very interesting, and potentially very significant, indicator of how key relationships are re-forming within the digital health and care ecosystem. Pharma companies like GSK have traditionally followed routes to a global market via B2B/B2G marketing within traditional health and care systems - selling to public agencies, hospitals and health boards, globally. But swelling demand from rising numbers of chronic disease sufferers and widespread austerity-driven budget constraints on public sector healthcare funding since 2008 have capped the capacity of many traditional (monopoly) buyers to keep pace with the output from a science-driven innovation pipeline in the life sciences sector. So consumer technology giants with billions of dollars of cash available for investment, such as Google/Alphabet, are placing bets on the growing capacity and willingness of many citizens to pay for preventative and health management information and solutions being delivered conveniently via their existing personal hardware of tablets and smartphones - and that these customers may not be willing to wait until the traditional formal healthcare system is ready to assimilate them. Apple are firmly eyeing this space too - expect to see more of this kind of tie-up.
Author: Ian Sibbald
Director, Citrus Mind Ltd.