New York: 11:47 || London: 16:47 || Mumbai: 22:17 || Singapore: 00:47

Reports US

US stock market daily report (June 23, 2014, Monday)

June 24, 2014, Tuesday, 06:02 GMT | 01:02 EST | 10:32 IST | 13:02 SGT
Contributed by Millennium Traders

Technology giants are delving into applications that could turn emerging wearable technology like smartwatches into must-have items. Some of the worlds largest mobile technology firms such as Apple Inc. (AAPL-Nasdaq), Google Inc. (GOOG-Nasdaq) and Samsung are ready to take on the new challenge. The firms are hiring medical scientists and engineers, are requesting potential oversight from U.S. regulators and developing glucose-measuring features for future wearable devices. These tech giants are known for having stashes of billions of dollars available for the research and development needed.

According to a meeting between Apple executives and the Food and Drug Administration in December, a summary of the discussion described how the FDA may regulate a glucometer that measures blood sugar. According to a summary of the discussion, such a device could avoid regulation if used for nutrition, but if marketed to diabetics, it would likely be regulated as a medical device. During 2012, nearly 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with diabetes, with an economic cost of nearly $245 million, the equivalent of an increase by 41% over a 5 year span. Most diabetics prick their fingers as much as 10 times a day to check glucose levels. Per reports, the global blood-sugar checking market is expected to be worth over $12 billion by 2017. Apple's efforts center on its "iWatch" which is on track to begin shipping in October. Apple has poached executives and bio-sensor engineers from such medical technology firms as Masimo Corporation (MASI-Nasdaq), Vital Connect and the now-defunct glucose monitoring startup C8 Medisensors.

Google has developed a "smart contact lens" that measures glucose levels and is looking for partners to bring the lens to market. Tears are found to contain lower concentrations of glucose making it more difficult to monitor with the lens. Google described an LED system that could warn of high or low blood sugar by flashing tiny lights. The device uses tiny chips and sensors that resemble bits of glitter to measure glucose levels in tears. The tech giant concludes the lens is expected to be years away from commercial development. During testing, accurate non-invasive measurement have been foiled by body movement as well as, fluctuations in hydration and temperature. Testing of the lens is reportedly occuring at the Google X facility - a semi-secret facility dedicated to making major technological advancements, located about a half mile from the Googleplex, Google's corporate headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Samsung was among the first tech companies to produce a smartwatch. The firm has since introduced a platform for mobile health, called Simband, which could be used on smart wrist bands and other mobile devices. Samsung is seeking partners and will allow developers to try out different sensors and software. Samsung is working with startups to implement a “traffic light” system in future Galaxy Gear smartwatches that flashes blood-sugar warnings. Samsung Ventures has made a number of investments in the field, including Glooko, a startup that helps physicians access their patients' glucose readings and in an Israeli glucose monitoring startup through its $50 million Digital Health Fund.

Stephen Oesterle, Senior Vice President of Medicine and Technology at Medtronic, Inc. (MDT-NYSE) recently said he now considers Google to be the medical device firm's next great rival, thanks to its funding for research and development, aka R&D. Oesterle recently said at a conference, “We spend $1.5 billion a year on R&D at Medtronic – and it’s mostly D. Google is spending $8 billion a year on R&D and, as far as I can tell, it’s mostly R.”