Alcon, the eye care division of global pharmaceutical and healthcare technology developer Novartis, has entered into an agreement with a division of Google Inc. to in-license its "smart lens" technology for all ocular medical uses.

Under the agreement, Google[x] and Alcon will collaborate to develop a "smart lens" that has the potential to address ocular conditions. The smart lens technology involves non-invasive sensors, microchips and other miniaturized electronics which are embedded within contact lenses.

"The agreement with Google[x], a team within Google that is devoted to finding new solutions to big global problems, provides Alcon with the opportunity to develop and commercialize Google's 'smart lens' technology with the potential to transform eye care and further enhance Alcon's pipeline and global leadership in contact lenses and intraocular lenses," Novartis said.

Novartis' interest in this technology is currently focused in two areas:

* Helping diabetic patients manage their disease by providing a continuous, minimally invasive measurement of the body's glucose levels via a "smart contact lens" which is designed to measure tear fluid in the eye and connects wirelessly with a mobile device;

* For people living with presbyopia who can no longer read without glasses, the "smart lens" 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 as part of the refractive cataract treatment.

The agreement marries Google's expertise in miniaturized electronics, low power chip design and microfabrication with Alcon's expertise in physiology and visual performance of the eye, clinical development and evaluation, as well as commercialization of contact and intraocular lenses.

The transaction remains subject to anti-trust approvals.

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