FDA medtech officials met last month with members of Google’s (NSDQ:GOOG) clandestine "X" research team, raising speculations about a foray into medical devices for the group that was behind Google Glass and the company’s self-driving car.
A quartet of Google employees met on December 18 with FDA medical device chief Dr. Jeffrey Shuren and a bevy of other agency officials, according to the FDA’s public calendar, which described the appointment as a "meet and greet."
FDA and Google officials declined to provide reporters with details of the meeting, but it’s not the 1st time that Google has forayed into healthcare. The company made some big bets in electronic health records with Google Health, a now-defunct consumer health information service that ran for 3 years before cancellation in 2011.
Last year the company announced its "Helpouts" program, a video service designed to accommodate long-distance access to experts in various fields, with an eye toward enabling low-cost health evaluations. Google is also a major investor in California Life Co., a stealthy company working quietly on projects to extend human lifespans.
Attending the FDA meeting on behalf of Google were Andrew Conrad, a relatively new member of the X team, as well as Brian Otis, whose previous work includes publications on contacts lenses with sensors that can measure blood glucose and other biomarkers, Bloomberg reported.
Some of the FDA officials involved included Bakul Patel, the agency official responsible for writing mHealth guidelines; Christy Foreman, the director of the Office of Device Evaluation; Alberto Gutierrez, director of the Office of In Vitro Diagnostics & Radiological Health; Malvina Eydelman of the Division of Ophthalmic & Ear, Nose and Throat Devices; and others.