Healthcare Technology Featured Article

May 02, 2013

Oracle Goes Oral: Buys into Ingestible Sensor Maker, Proteus

Oracle, a computer technology corporation, is targeting health care as a key vertical market. Reflecting this ambition, the company has announced it now holds a minority stake in medical device maker Proteus Digital Health, a company that sells ingestible and wearable sensors for tracking health-related information.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, has displayed deep commitment and personal interest in health care. He serves as chairman of the Ellison Medical Foundation, a nonprofit organization that, as its website states, is focused on “defining the fundamental biological mechanisms that prevent age-related diseases and disabilities.”

Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration last year, ingestible sensors, while sounding pretty creepy, could be helpful in monitoring drug reactions.

Proteus is developing “Digital Medicines,” a line of pharmaceutical drugs that contain ingestible sensors. After a person swallows the drug, the sensor can communicate with a separate device the pill-taker wears on the skin. The sensor tracks the body's physical responses to the medication.

Proteus Digital Health is seeing a boom in funding led by Oracle, and announced on Wednesday that it had raised $62.5 million in its latest round, with participation from existing investors Otsuka, Novartis, Sino Portfolio and others.

According to a statement, the technology will be integrated with Oracle's family of software during clinical trials, providing “clinical investigators worldwide the ability to measure information about medication ingestion, dose timing, and associated physiologic response.”

The investment in Proteus' “Digital Medicines” is the latest for Oracle, who has been expanding its portfolio of offerings for pharmaceutical companies. Last year Oracle purchased ClearTrial, a provider of cloud-based Clinical Trial Operations and analytics products that aim to make the planning, sourcing, and tracking of clinical projects and financial performance quicker and more precise.

In 2010, Oracle also acquired Phase Forward, a provider of applications for life sciences companies and healthcare providers. 

Edited by Blaise McNamee

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