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September 12, 2016

Sanofi, Verily Launch $500M Diabetes Joint Venture

  • Sanofi and Verily Life Sciences (formerly Google Life Sciences) said today they were launching an approximately $500 million joint venture to develop a diabetes management platform that combines new treatments with devices, software, and professional care.

    The new venture—to be called Onduo—is designed to marry Verily’s experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development with Sanofi’s clinical expertise in bringing new diabetes treatments to market, the companies said.

    Sanofi will invest $248 million in return for its 50% stake in Onduo, with Verily contributing an equivalent amount of capital, the pharma said in a statement to GEN, adding: "Onduo’s current financing strongly positions the company to execute on our near-term and long-term goals.

    “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,” Peter Guenter, Sanofi evp and Head of Sanofi’s Global Diabetes & Cardiovascular Business Unit, said in a statement.

    Onduo comes at a time when Sanofi is looking to reverse months of diabetes-related setbacks, including the end of its collaboration with MannKind for an inhaled insulin, Afrezza®. According to results released July 29, diabetes sales dipped 3.2% in the second quarter, to €1.857 billion ($2.083 billion), a decrease the company has blamed on lower Lantus® sales in the U.S., chiefly reflecting lower average net price and patients switching to Lantus’ successor, the more concentrated once-daily Toujeo®.

    Onduo will be based in the Kendall Square section of Cambridge, MA, and will be headed by a newly appointed CEO, Joshua Riff, M.D., M.B.A. Dr. Riff was previously svp of prevention and wellbeing with Optum, the health services company of UnitedHealth Group.

    Initially, Onduo will focus on developing solutions for people with type 2 diabetes that range from improved medication management to improved habits and goals, Sanofi and Verily said.

    Over time, the companies added, Onduo plans to expand its focus to people with type 1 diabetes, then to people at risk of developing diabetes, with the goal of disease prevention.

    Sanofi and Verily said Onduo will include the diabetes community, clinicians, payers, and healthcare professionals in the development of their products. Two healthcare providers—Sutter Health of northern California and Allegheny Health Network of western Pennsylvania—have agreed to be among the first healthcare networks to test the Onduo platform with healthcare professionals and people with type 2 diabetes in a clinical care setting.

    Onduo said it is consulting with patient groups, including Taking Control of Your Diabetes (TCOYD), on the design of future products.

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