ResMed joins Google to research sleep apnoea therapies

Sleep apnoea firm ResMed has joined with Google’s life science division Verily to form a new joint venture studying the health and financial impact of undiagnosed and untreated disease, and find new ways to treat it.

The joint venture will combine ResMed’s expertise in sleep apnoea and Verily’s advanced health data analytics technologies.

As well as assessing the impact of untreated disease on patients’ lives, it will develop software to more efficiently identify, diagnose, treat, and manage patients with sleep apnoea and other breathing related sleep disorders.

Caused by the walls of the throat relaxing and narrowing during sleep and interrupting breathing, the disease affects around 54 million people in the US, and is associated with heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and other life-threatening conditions.

Despite the high prevalence and increasing public awareness, around 80% of people with obstructive sleep apnoea are undiagnosed, untreated, and unaware of their own risk and the benefits that therapy could provide, the companies noted.

ResMed employs 6,000 people covering more than 120 countries and has produced more than 5 million cloud-connected medical devices for remote patient monitoring.

These include software that helps to treat respiratory conditions including sleep apnoea and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Verily was launched in 2015, and is a subsidiary of Google’s parent company Alphabet, focused on life sciences and health care.

This year Verily began collaborating with Gilead to identify molecular drivers behind the inflammatory diseases rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, and lupus.

It is also collaborating with its sister company Google Research to develop an AI-powered test for heart disease that analyses retinal imagery.

Last year it opened a lab for Freenome , a startup that it has invested in, to develop liquid cancer screening tests.

Jessica Mega, chief medical and scientific officer at Verily, said: “Approaching a widespread health problem like sleep apnea through collecting, organising and activating health data is central to Verily’s mission.”

“By better identifying at-risk individuals as well as generating real-world evidence regarding the value and effectiveness of treatment, this collaboration has the potential to improve outcomes for millions of people living with sleep apnea, and potentially other related conditions.”

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