Google (NSDQ:GOOG) life sciences company Verily said late last week that it is putting its joint project with Novartis (NYSE:NVS) unit Alcon to develop a glucose-sensing contact lens on hold due to difficulties in obtaining reliable tear glucose readings.
The project, which began in 2014, aimed to develop a contact lens that could measure glucose levels for individuals living with diabetes, according to a blog post from Verily chief technical officer Brian Otis.
But measuring glucose levels from tear glucose has proven to be unreliable, according to the blog posting.
“Our clinical work on the glucose-sensing lens demonstrated that there was insufficient consistency in our measurements of the correlation between tear glucose and blood glucose concentrations to support the requirements of a medical device. In part, this was associated with the challenges of obtaining reliable tear glucose readings in the complex on-eye environment. For example, we found that interference from biomolecules in tears resulted in challenges in obtaining accurate glucose readings from the small quantities of glucose in the tear film. In addition, our clinical studies have demonstrated challenges in achieving the steady state conditions necessary for reliable tear glucose readings,” Otis wrote in the posting.
The companies are still jointly developing smart contact lens devices for a number of other uses, according to the posting. The teams have developed methods to integrate wireless electronics and sensors in “thousands of lenses in numerous form factors.”
Other projects the companies have added to the list include smart intraocular lenses intended to improve sight following cataract surgery and smart accommodating contact lens tech for treating presbyopia, Otis wrote.
Verily and Alcon will continue to partner on both the smart accommodating contact lens and smart intraocular lens projects.
“We’re looking forward to the next phase of development on our other two Smart Lens programs with Alcon, where we are applying all our significant technical learnings and achievements to prevalent conditions in ophtalmology,” Otis wrote in the blog posting.