Imagine having the equivalents of a gatekeeper, a multilingual translator, an air traffic controller, and a bouncer in your nervous system. Now imagine that this team can modulate and redirect signals from the brain and the rest of your nervous system to other systems and organs in your body. Any signals heading the wrong way or behaving erratically could be course-corrected along the way. That’s a rough translation of the concept of bioelectronics.
Galvani Bioelectronics has emerged from an agreement by GSK and Alphabet, Inc.‘s Verily Life Sciences division. The whole purpose in creating this new company rests in developing bioelectronic medicines. GSK brings expertise in drug discovery and disease biology. Verily adds technical expertise in miniature, low power electronics, device development, data analytics, and software development. The new venture will focus first on proving that biolectronics can make a difference.
The crux of investigation and development will be on controlling electronic signals within the body that get thrown off by chronic diseases. Type 2 diabetes, inflammation, and metabolic and endocrine disorders cause faulty “electrical conversations” within the body, which the scientists working on bioelectronics hope to correct. The ability to correct and control electronic signals within the body holds the potential to alleviate symptoms and correct biologic “mistakes” that occur in the body.
“Many of the processes of the human body are controlled by electrical signals firing between the nervous system and the body’s organs, which may become distorted in many chronic diseases,” says Moncef Slaoui, GSK’s Chairman of Global Vaccines. “Bioelectronic medicine’s vision is to employ the latest advances in biology and technology to interpret this electrical conversation and to correct the irregular patterns found in disease states, using miniaturized devices attached to individual nerves. If successful, this approach offers the potential for a new therapeutic modality alongside traditional medicines and vaccines.” Brian Otis, Verily’s CTO said, “This partnership provides an opportunity to further Verily’s mission by deploying our focused expertise in low power, miniaturized therapeutics and our data analytics engine to potentially address many disease areas with greater precision with the goal of improving outcomes.”
Implanting tiny monitoring and control devices inside a patient’s body may sound like science fiction, but that’s Galvani Bioelectronics’ mission.