The new JV firm, Galvani Bioelectronics, will engage in the research, development and commercialization of bioelectronic medicines.

Under the deal, GSK will own 55% equity interest in the new firm, while the Verily will hold the remaining 45% stake.

The new firm, which will be headquartered in the UK, will receive an investment of up to £540m over seven years. It will also secure existing intellectual property rights from the parent companies.

Bioelectronic medicine is a relatively new scientific field, which will deal with a wide range of chronic diseases by using miniaturized and implantable devices.

These devices will modify electrical signals that pass along nerves in the body, including irregular or altered impulses that occur in many illnesses.

Bioelectronic medicines hold potential to treat chronic conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma.

Galvani will use GSK’s drug discovery and development expertise and Verily’s technical expertise in the miniaturisation of low power electronics, device development, data analytics and software development for clinical applications.

Initially, the company will focus on establishing clinical proofs of principle in inflammatory, metabolic and endocrine disorders, including type 2 diabetes, as well as developing associated miniaturized and precision devices.

GSK global vaccines chairman Moncef Slaoui said: “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.

Verily chief technology officer Brian Otis said: “This is an ambitious collaboration allowing GSK and Verily to combine forces and have a huge impact on an emerging field.”

Image: GlaxoSmithKline head office, London. Photo: courtesy of Ian Wilson.