DexCom Partners With Google X To Miniaturize Glucose Monitors


Google X Labs announces that it will commence on yet another healthcare-related project. This time, the Life Sciences team, led by renowned biologist Andrew Conrad, will dissect the traditional continuous glucose monitors used by diabetics to regulate their blood sugar levels. The project will focus on miniaturizing the devices until they are the size of a bandage, and reducing their cost to the point that they can be sold as disposable stick-on monitors. On a longer timeline, Google hopes to shrink the devices and cut associated costs even further.

As with many of the X lab’s other projects, Google will not take on responsibility for manufacturing and commercializing the new miniaturized CGMs. Instead, Google has partnered with DexCom, a market leader and innovator in the CGM industry. DexCom has reportedly signed a $100 million partnership with Google to be the exclusive reseller of the new devices. This business arrangement is similar to how Google commercialized its glucose monitoring contact lenses, which were licensed to Novartis for commercialization.

Currently, CGM devices are used primarily by Type-1 diabetics to monitor blood sugar levels; however, Google and DexCom hope that with advances in CGM offerings, the devices developed at X labs will become the standard of care for all diabetics, providing greater monitoring capabilities to anyone living with the disease. In its announcement, DexCom explains, “The goal is to empower more people to control their diabetes with real-time and actionable information by developing a low-cost, small, bandage-sized sensor that is connected to the cloud.  By addressing these needs, we believe we will have the platform that can replace finger sticks and become the standard of care.”

Financial terms of the new partnership are surprisingly transparent, given Google’s relative reluctance to publish partnership pricing or licensing costs on Life Sciences projects thus far. DexCom will pay $35 million up front, plus another $65 million over time as the development and commercialization of the new devices reach certain milestones. Additionally, Google will receive between a five and nine percent royalty on sales of the monitors.

First-generation monitors are not expected to be commercially available for several years.

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