Verily establishes a joint venture with Santen to develop unique ophthalmic devices

The new company plans to create and commercialize unique ophthalmic devices and comprehensive tech-enabled solutions.

Alphabet-owned Verily is forming another joint venture, this time with Santen Pharmaceutical, focused on applying microelectronics and scalable digital technologies to ophthalmology. One in thirty people worldwide have experienced an issue with eye health and it is estimated that about 80% of visual impairments can be prevented by early detection and treatment.

The new joint venture is driven by a mission to improve eye health for people everywhere, starting by developing solutions to support modern ophthalmology practice globally. Combining Santen’s industry knowledge and technology in ophthalmology and Verily’s expertise in development of connected, integrated medical devices and machine learning — the new company plans to create and commercialize unique ophthalmic devices and comprehensive tech-enabled solutions.

“This joint venture will combine Verily’s cutting-edge digital technology and our global industrial and commercial ophthalmology business platform to pursue innovation in ophthalmology,” Shigeo Taniuchi, President and COO of Santen, said in a statement. “Santen has actively promoted collaboration and open innovation with various external organizations in order to enhance eye health, and corresponding quality of life, for people around the world. Digital technology is a transformational driver in health and we hope that this joint venture will be a significant step forward in paving the way for better eye care around the world.”

Dimitri Azar, MD, MBA, Senior Director of Ophthalmic Innovation at Verily and CEO-designate of the joint venture said, “we’re thrilled to partner with Santen, a global company with an established presence in the ophthalmology industry, to develop novel solutions leveraging microelectronics and machine learning for better eye care. Our focus is first and foremost on taking care of patients. By combining Santen’s expertise and Verily’s advanced technology, our joint venture is well-positioned to tackle innovative projects spanning ophthalmic conditions, such as glaucoma and dry eye. We’ll explore ways to use technology not only to diagnose disease, but to improve treatment and develop more precise interventions in ophthalmology.”