Alphabet unit halts glucose-detecting contact lens project


(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s life sciences division Verily said on Friday that it was putting on hold one of its oldest and highest-profile projects, a smart contact lens designed to help monitor sugar levels.

The project, started in 2014, aimed to help diabetics better manage their blood sugar levels by embedding sensors on a contact lens to monitor the glucose levels in their tears.

In a blog update, Verily cited here insufficient consistency in the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device.

Verily, which was previously part of the tech firm’s Google X research and development unit, had partnered with Novartis’ eye-care division, Alcon, to develop the lens.

Alcon said in its own statement that the decision to pause the project was made together with Verily.

The companies said they would continue to work on two other ‘Smart Lens’ projects – one for presbyopia, or far-sightedness, and another intended to improve sight following cataract surgery.

Verily received an $800 million investment from Singapore state investor Temasek last year.

Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru and Paresh Dave in San Francisco; Editing by Maju Samuel and Rosalba O’Brien

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