Bioelectronics is not a new concept, pacemakers have been around nearly 100 years now and deep-brain stimulation implants have been being used for patients with Parkinson’s disease for example. Big Pharma really has not engaged the capabilities however of new technologies to engage in therapeutic values of small bioelectronics.
Glaxo means to change that taking bioelectronics to new therapeutic levels that may well remove the need for many medications by using implants.
Glaxo’s goal is to have bioelectronics in clinical use within the next 10 years as fully functional medical devices. These implants become part of a patient’s life circuitry, interfacing and modifying functionality using very small devices. One of the largest challenges is understanding what neurons control what organs and decoding the complex neuronal interconnectivity and functions.
Work has already begun to create a functional map of the human nervous system and encasements for the implants such as polymers and even synthetic diamonds as metal and plastics are not considered acceptable long-term candidates for the types of devices Glaxo is engineering.
Glaxo Smith Kline has is being viewed as a pioneer in this field of research and has created an entire division devoted completely to bioelectronics that can be attached to nerves and possibly eliminate the need for a variety of currently used medications. The 30 person development team is also working with external developers to make bioelectronics a reality in clinical use and bring them to market in the next 10 years.