Last year, the world was abuzz with the news of a partnership between Google and Novartis to make a glucose sensing contact lens.
What was even more stunning was that the contact lens would be available in 5 years.
The diabetes community applauded the announcement, because the impact on blood testing would be a true game-changer. The contact lens would be a non-invasive device that monitors your glucose through tears.
However, most of us met the deadline of 5 years with skepticism. Traditionally, new drug and device approval through the FDA, takes much longer then 5 years – the time for new device approval averages 12 years! How could it be done in just 5 years?
The recent news from Google is that human trials on their contact lens will begin in 2016.
The caveat?: the human trials will be on people with Presbyopia, which is age related far-sightedness, not diabetes. In other words, Bausch and Lomb makes the same thing already.
Why presbyopia? Probably, two factors: 1) Nearly, 100% of the population over the age of 40, experience it. 2) If they are setting up for the diabetes market, typically type 2 diabetics are over 50 and the (sometimes) complicated aging process for type 1 would add to their numbers of need.
With diabetes management costing about $245 billion a year, Google is still invested in having its share of the diabetes market. Although, it is clearly exploring many health conditions, as shown through their partnerships with Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi, Biogen, Novartis and Dexcom.
We will wish them luck and look forward to the future. But Google and Novartis take note: please don't lead us on anymore. Marketing ploys - like a five year promise, hurt us and hurt our trust in you.
For more information on Google Contact Lens for diabetics: