Google Inc (GOOGL) X Labs Inks Accord with Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB) for Multiple Sclerosis Initiative

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is teaming up with global biotech firm Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) for an extensive research initiative in the field of multiple sclerosis. Biogen is popular for its array of various drugs for multiple sclerosis, and has announced early this year about a revolutionary drug that can repair nerve damage in patients suffering from the disease. The biotech company has yet to release more details about the said drug at a future medical conference, which is also not specified as of date.

Google (GOOG)Talking about the partnership with Biogen Idec Inc (NASDAQ:BIIB) in an interview with Bloomberg, Andrew Conrad of Google X life science division, the Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) unit involved in the deal, noted that the “central thesis is to change health care from being reactive to proactive.” According to him, the aim of the partnership is to “understand disease at its onset” and see if  early intervention is possible.

The Mountain View, California-based search giant is known for its interest in the health care industries. It has created Google Genomics, a platform that allows hospitals and universities to easily upload, store, and share genomic data. Just recently, on Monday, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL)’s servers have seen the upload of thousands of genomes of individuals affected by autism in one way or another. It is also involved with Duke University in a research project called MURDOCK Study (Measurement to Understand the Reclassification of Disease of Cabarrus/Kannapolis).

According to Rick Rudick, Biogen’s vice president of development sciences, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Biogen will collect and sift through data from multiple sclerosis patients using sensors, software, as well as data analysis tools in order to understand the different progress mechanics of the disease with different patients. Rudick expressed bafflement over why two patients initially presenting with the same symptoms would result 10 years later with one being a “championship tennis player” and with the other remaining “in a nursing home.” Multiple Sclerosis currently affects an estimated 2.3 million individuals on a global scale, and the disease, which attacks the fatty substance myelin, causes tingling, walking problems, and degraded vision. As the illness progresses, symptoms also get worse. New data may help Biogen formulate more effective drugs that can address individual patient issues. Both Google and Biogen declined to disclose details of the deal.

This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.

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