Novartis plans clinical studies of "smart lens" next year

In an interview published in Swiss newspaper Le Temps, Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez indicated that the company plans to begin clinical studies next year of a "smart lens" that uses technology licensed from Google to measure blood glucose levels in tear fluid in the eye. The executive said the project "is progressing well."

Jimenez remarked "I had said it would take about five years to see a product on the market," adding "the calendar is light and we are already developing a technological lens prototype (that) should be tested on humans in 2016." The collaboration with Google is focused on a lens that uses non-invasive sensors and microchips embedded within contact lenses, providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via the measurement of tear fluid in the eye.

Google is also reportedly exploring the possibility of including LED lights inside the lenses, which could indicate if glucose levels have crossed a threshold limit and provide an early warning to the wearer. In addition, Novartis has said the technology 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.

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