Skip to Main Content

On Monday morning, GlaxoSmithKline and Verily Life Sciences, which is owned by Google’s parent, Alphabet, formed a new company that will fight diseases by targeting electrical signals in the body. The companies will collectively invest $715 million in the gambit, which will be called Galvani Bioelectronics, and they hope to win approval for their implantable devices several years from now. But a lot must happen first. We spoke with Moncef Slaoui, who heads Glaxo’s vaccine business and will chair the new entity, about his hopes for making devices that will act like medicines. “It’s not science fiction,” he tells us. “And it’s progressing quite well.” This is an edited version of our conversation.

Pharmalot: So this is an ambitious project, but it’s not exactly about pharmaceuticals, is it? And you work for a drug maker. Where did the initiative come from?


Slaoui: Well, I became head of R&D (at Glaxo) in 2006 and my mission was to turn around the productivity, which was lagging. And I undertook a deep reorganization and by 2011, we had the early signs that we made a significant turnaround and productivity would go up. But in 2011, early 2012, we realized it took five to six years to turn around R&D asked ourselves whether it will wane away and if the way we discover drugs will it be sustainable in long run. … You know, the way we ensure a drug works is that it has a unique structure to interact with a specific target.

Unlock this article by subscribing to STAT+ and enjoy your first 30 days free!

  • In the sixties we had already the idea, that medical physics will be the future. Distorted molecules can theoretically be repaired by using electricity or magnetic forces. Mostly the problem is a misplaced OH- group.
    Bioelectronics is very fascinating and certainly not science fiction. Moreover any working treatment without side-effects is always better than the poison we use nowadays/

Comments are closed.