The Cambridge, Mass.-based Onduo JV will aim to combine Verily’s expertise in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software with Sanofi’s diabetes program. Dr. Joshua Riff, formerly senior vice president of prevention & wellbeing at UnitedHealth‘s (NYSE:UNH) Optum business, was tapped to be Onduo’s CEO, the company said.
“Onduo’s mission is to help people with diabetes live full, healthy lives by developing comprehensive solutions that combine devices, software, medicine, and professional care to enable simple and intelligent disease management,” Sanofi said. Verily is slated to provide unspecified products and services worth $248 million, with Sanofi putting up the same amount in cash.
The company plans to focus 1st on lifestyle coaching and medication management for Type II diabetes patients, gradually expanding the focus to include Type I diabetes and eventually diabetes prevention. Northern California’s Sutter Health and western Pennsylvania’s Allegheny Health Network are piloting the Onduo platform in a clinical setting, the company said. Onduo is the fruit of the collaboration announced last year between Verily and the French pharmaceuticals giant.
“The beauty of the joint venture in a way is that we don’t rely on the typical 10-year development cycle of a pharmaceutical asset,” Sanofi diabetes head Stefan Oelrich told Bloomberg Technology. “We start to innovate today.
“With more market entrants and as the space gets more crowded, it will be more difficult to maintain your stance from a contracting and commercial standpoint,” he said. “There’s increased competition on price. I think it’s here to stay.”
“The integration of multiple interventions, such as data-driven patient support and devices in addition to treatment, can help improve outcomes, which is important from the perspective of patients, healthcare professionals and the overall healthcare system,” Sanofi’s global diabetes & cardiovascular head, Peter Guenter, said in prepared remarks. “The new company Sanofi and Verily invested in will adopt a more service-centric approach and support doctors in their efforts to treat their patients more effectively. In addition to developing innovative therapies for diabetes which will remain a key focus for Sanofi, we see these solutions which combine innovative therapies and services as the future for diabetes care. We believe this will help societies cope with the burden of this epidemic.”
“This is an innovative collaboration that spans the healthcare continuum and benefits from deep and cross-functional expertise, giving us unique potential to create tools and solutions that could have a positive clinical effect,” added Verily chief medical officer Dr. Jessica Mega. “Our goal is to connect the dots for health care providers on the ‘moments of truth’ that happen outside of the clinical setting, and to help people manage diabetes on a daily basis. Our collaborations with health networks like Sutter Health and Allegheny Health will help bring that vision to life.”
“My experience as a physician and in leading consumer health initiatives has shown me the daily burden of living with diabetes,” Riff said. “From monitoring food intake to testing glucose levels to actively seeking medical care, the challenges both on the physical and mental well-being of a person living with diabetes are incredibly difficult. We want to develop solutions that allow people living with diabetes to focus on the things they love and enjoy in life by providing tools to make dealing with their diabetes less burdensome.”