Apple partner supplier Rockley Photonics on Wednesday announced a strategic partnership with two major medical device manufacturers that could lead to advancements in non-invasive biomarker sensing on mobile devices like Apple Watch.
As part of a pair of multi-year partnerships with two unnamed medical equipment and device manufacturers, Rockley will evaluate and incorporate next-generation non-invasive biomarker sensing technologies across a range of form factors, the company said in a press release.
The tech will be used in devices that gather photonics-based data from different parts of the body with a goal of monitoring health conditions and providing early disease detection. Initial deployment is limited to medical facilities like hospitals and clinics, though Rockley expects the partnerships to forward development of real-time, non-invasive biomarker sensing in mobile devices for outpatient monitoring.
“Combining our game-changing sensing technology with our partners’ deep knowledge and experience in developing medical equipment and devices could open doors we haven’t even thought of yet,” said Dr. Andrew Rickman, CEO and founder of Rockley Photonics. “We believe that extending our technology into a wider variety of devices for both consumers and medtech will bring us one step closer to our vision of giving people better insights into their health and well-being.”
While unnamed, the medtech manufacturers have a combined history of over 200 years in the industry and represent more than $40 billion of revenue in the medical equipment market, Rockley said.
Information gleaned from the project could be integrated into Rockley’s so-called “clinic-on-the-wrist” sensing platform. Announced in July, the system utilizes laser technology instead of LED-based sensors to detect a wide range of biomarkers including core body temperature, blood pressure, body hydration, alcohol, lactate and glucose trends. Non-invasive glucose monitoring is considered a “holy grail” of modern medicine and Apple is reportedly working to implement the technology in Apple Watch.
Rockley disclosed ties to Apple in a U.S. Securities and Exchange filing in May, though details of tech giant’s relationship with the UK firm are unknown.