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Santen and Verily establish joint venture to develop and commercialise unique ophthalmic devices

Tue 4 February, 2020

Geneva, SA – Santen and Verily, an Alphabet company, announced the establishment of a joint venture focused on applying microelectronics and scalable digital technologies to ophthalmology. 

1 in 30 people worldwide have some kind of eye health problem, of which over 45% of those with visual impairments can be prevented by early detection and treatment.1 In the healthcare industry, same as in other industries, digital technology is attracting attention to meet the unmet medical needs.

The joint venture is driven by a mission to improve eye health for people everywhere, starting by developing tools and technology to support modern ophthalmology practice worldwide. Combining Santen's specialty and technology in the ophthalmology field and Verily's expertise in artificial intelligence (AI) and building hardware and software-based devices, the new company plans to develop and commercialise unique ophthalmic devices, including comprehensive Internet of Things (IoT) medical devices. 

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

Dimitri Azar, MD, clinical lead, Ophthalmology Programmes at Verily and CEO-designate of the joint venture said:
“We are thrilled to partner with Santen, a global company with an established presence in the ophthalmology industry, to develop novel solutions leveraging AI and microelectronics for better eye care. By combining Santen’s eye care expertise and Verily’s advanced technology, our joint venture is well-positioned to tackle innovative projects in ophthalmology diseases such as glaucoma, dry eye and other ophthalmological diseases. We’ll explore ways to use technology not only to diagnose disease, but to improve disease management, and ultimately, further precision medicine in ophthalmology.”

Reference: 

  1. WHO blindness and vision impairment fact sheet. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/blindness-and-visual-impairment [Last accessed: March 2020]

Document no: PP-SANTEN-EMEA-0031
Date of preparation: March 2020