The chances that, in a few years’ time, people will be able to receive basic healthcare without interacting with a technology company became considerably smaller after recent announcements of two intriguing but not entirely unpredictable partnerships.
One is between Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline. The two have agreed to form a $715m company to focus on the new field of bioelectronics, which involves developing miniature electrical implants capable of treating a number of chronic diseases.
The other announcement was the results of a major new study of genetic markers associated with depression. It was the product of collaboration between 23andme, a Google-backed personal genetics company, and Pfizer, yet another pharmaceuticals giant. It was the largest study of its kind, drawing on DNA data from more than 450,000 23andMe customers, and this scale comes in handy for companies such as Pfizer.