Qualcomm Inc.: Sights Set on Wireless Healthcare

April 22, 2009
Company explores opportunities for sensor technology in the medical field

Gary West thinks wireless technology will "completely transform healthcare as we know it." West partnered with Qualcomm Inc. through his Gary and Mary West Foundation to create the West Wireless Health Institute.

Qualcomm, one of IndustryWeek's IW 50 Best Manufacturers for 2008, is a founding sponsor of the Institute, which is headquartered in San Diego. Qualcomm issued a statement in March that the West Foundation committed $45 million to create a medical research organization aimed at advancing healthcare through the use of wireless technologies.

Donald Jones, vice president of Health and Life Sciences at Qualcomm, will team with the Institute's engineering team to lead the integration of wireless technology with clinical research activity headed by Dr. Eric Topol, chief academic officer at Scripps Health.

Southern Copper Corp.
At A Glance

Qualcomm Inc.
San Diego, Calif.
Primary Industry: Communications Equipment
Number of Employees: 800
2007 In Review
Revenue: $8.87 billion
Profit Margin: 37.23%
Sales Turnover: 0.48
Inventory Turnover: 7.46
Revenue Growth: 17.87%
Return On Assets: 21.72%
Return On Equity: 24.64%
"The Institute will enable inventors, medical device makers and others to hatch, nurture and refine their ideas for wireless health solutions," said Jones. "We believe the launch of the West Wireless Health Institute will lead to levels of care never before seen in the delivery of healthcare."

Potential uses for wireless technology in healthcare include the application of sensors to track blood sugar, blood pressure, vital signs, sleep state and caloric intake and expenditure, says Topol.

Qualcomm is looking beyond North America to develop wireless technology for healthcare-related applications. Company Chairman and CEO Paul Jacobs told Reuters on April 8 that Qualcomm is considering investing in South Korean wireless and healthcare technology firms for possible investment.

Qualcomm already has invested in British communications technology firm ip.access, Indian map data provider MapmyIndia and U.S. wireless healthcare monitoring developer Triage Wireless, Reuters reported.

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