It sounds like the plot from a science fiction film but GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) partnership with Google parent Alphabet (GOOG:NDQ) could give its latest venture credibility.

The UK’s largest drug-maker is to develop bio-electric medicines in partnership with technology giant Alphabet’s Verily Life Sciences division.

The Galvani Bioelectronics joint venture could improve the lives of those suffering with chronic illnesses such as arthritis, diabetes and asthma.

The venture is exploring the benefits of implanting devices in a patient to improve electric signals between the nervous system and the organs. These signals are believed to be distorted in those suffering from some chronic diseases.

Web - GSK - 1 August 2016

GSK, which has been working in this area since 2012, is the majority shareholder owning 55% of the venture. Together with Verily it could invest £540 million in Galvani Bioelectronics over seven years.

This is a new approach in tackling disease and illness, alongside more traditional biological medicines and vaccines.

Shares move 1% higher to £17.04 on the news.

This is the second announcement from GSK that the market has welcomed in less than a week. On 27 July the group confirmed a £275 million investment in three UK manufacturing sites.

Backing research and strengthening its interests in new areas rather than buying existing treatments is a sign that the board are focused on inventing the next generation of treatments and thus expanding its development pipeline.

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Issue Date: 01 Aug 2016