22 January 2019
Alphabet’s life sciences arm Verily has ended its smart lens program which was aimed to put tiny sensors on a contact lens to measure blood glucose levels in the wearer’s tears. The lenses would help in detecting glucose levels in diabetics in real time and would be an easy non-evasive way of monitoring.
Now the company has announced in a blog post that detecting blood sugar levels in tears is an insurmountable task.
"Our clinical work on the glucose-sensing lens demonstrated that there was insufficient consistency in our measurements of the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device," the company said.
The company had launched the project in 2014, in partnership with Alcon, Novartis' eye-care division. However, Verily, had been quiet about the project over the last few years leading to numerous rumours that project may be winding down. The company stated that although it did have some success in a controlled environment actual tests couldn’t be conclusive in a dynamic environment of the eye.
Verily stated that although it has shelved its current project it will continue to work on other projects in the diabetes space via its other life sciences partners:
We remain committed to improving the lives of people with diabetes including through improved methods for inexpensive and unobtrusive glucose sensing to support diabetes management. We are working closely with Dexcom to develop miniaturized continuous glucose monitors and with Onduo, our joint venture with Sanofi, to integrate continuous sensing into the care paradigm for people living with Type 2 diabetes.