Swiss drug maker Novartis has partnered tech giant Google to develop a "smart" contact lens to help patients with diabetes and other eye conditions.
Novartis' eye care division Alcon has entered into an agreement with a division of Google, Google[x] to in-license its "smart lens" technology for all ocular medical uses, the Swiss firm said in a statement.
The agreement, which provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialise Google's technology, remains subject to anti-trust approvals, it added.
"We are looking forward to working with Google to bring together their advanced technology and our extensive knowledge of biology to meet unmet medical needs," Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said.
This is a key step for Novartis to go beyond the confines of traditional disease management, starting with the eye, he added.
"We aim to unlock a new frontier to jointly address the unmet medical needs of millions of eye care patients around the world," Alcon Division Head Jeff George said.
The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturised electronics, which are embedded within contact lenses.
Novartis is focused on helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via a "smart contact lens", which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device.
It will also focus on people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses.
The smart lens, in this case, has the potential to provide accommodative vision correction to help restore the eye's natural autofocus on near objects in the form of an accommodative contact lens or intraocular lens as part of the refractive cataract treatment.
"Our dream is to use the latest technology in the miniaturisation of electronics to help improve the quality of life for millions of people," Google co-founder Sergey Brin said.