Qualcomm Ventures Forms Joint Investment Business with Novartis

Xconomy San Diego — 

Qualcomm (NASDAQ: QCOM), the San Diego wireless technologies giant, plans to form a joint investment business through its corporate ventures arm with the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis. The joint investment entity would make as much as $100 million available for innovative health startups.

In a statement, the partners say they would invest in early stage companies that “offer technologies, products or services that ‘go beyond the pill’ to benefit physicians and patients.”

Just last week, Qualcomm Ventures was ranked as the most active strategic investor in digital health & health IT in 2014, according to annual reports from both Rock Health and StartUp Health.

According to Qualcomm Ventures’ senior vice president, Nagraj Kashyap, “Qualcomm has been actively investing in digital health since 2011, and we currently have 18 healthcare startups in our global portfolio. This joint investment company with Novartis will allow us to combine their expertise in healthcare solutions with our knowledge of mobile technologies to accelerate innovation in the field of digital medicine.”

Qualcomm established its $100 million Qualcomm Life Fund at the end of 2011, at the same time the company formed Qualcomm Life as a subsidiary to operate its wireless health business. Investments by the fund, managed by Qualcomm Ventures, include Noom, Fitbit, goBalto, Sotera Wireless, AliveCor, Cambridge Temperature Concepts, and AirStrip.

Qualcomm said last week it’s also working more closely with Novartis on clinical trials, by using its 2net wireless technology as a platform for collecting and aggregating patient data from clinical trials. I’m arranging a follow-up conversation with Qualcomm senior vice president Rick Valencia, who oversees Qualcomm Life, to glean more details about these partnerships, and what Qualcomm Life and Novartis hope to accomplish.