Investing & Startups| January 14, 2019
Alphabet’s Verily Raises 1 Billion Dollars for Health Projects
Verily, the life sciences division of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, just announced that it raised $1 billion in an investment round led by a private equity firm.
On January 3rd, Alphabet announced that Verily raised $1 billion from investors to support its healthcare projects beyond merely research. This funding will be used to help the company grow in key areas such as investments and future acquisitions. Verily is an Alphabet-owned company that was formerly called Google Life Sciences. Its focus is on the healthcare industry and emerging technologies.
HealthCare Weekly Insight
This mega-funding round was led by Silver Lake Partners, an American private equity firm that focuses on leveraged buyout and capital investments in the technology field, and other related industries. Founded 20 years ago, Silver Lake is one of the largest technology investors in the world to help companies grow their businesses. Other investors were also involved in this funding round, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
The company did not exactly disclose what the $1 billion will go towards, however, they did mention that Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat and Silver Lake Managing Director Egon Durban will be nominated to join Verily’s operating board. Alphabet CEO Andrew Conrad said in a statement, “Adding a well-rounded group of seasoned investors, led by Silver Lake, will further prepare us to execute as healthcare continues the shift towards evidence generation and value-based reimbursement models”.
Verily has many ongoing projects and the money from this funding should help advance their projects and the pivot toward commercializing health products. Many of the projects on which Verily is working are focused on research, such as a study being conducted in conjunction with Gilead Sciences–a research-based biopharmaceutical company–that aims to identify the genomic cause of inflammatory disease (more about this below).
More About Verily
Formerly known as Google Life Sciences, Verily is Alphabet’s research company with a focus on the life sciences discipline. After Verily became an independent subsidiary of Alphabet Inc. in August 2015, they contacted several different disciplines in the healthcare industry with an eye to collaborate on projects. Verily uses technology, data science, and healthcare to make health data as useful as possible in order to provide customers with the best possible service.
Verily’s leadership team consists of research scientists, hardware and software engineers, and commercial experts, all with the same mission: to tackle some of the hardest challenges in the healthcare field. Verily works with industry experts to collaborate on various projects; this funding will help to increase this collective impact.
Verily is currently developing tools and techniques to collect health data through effective interventions. The company is constantly running projects and studies to better understand the onset of diseases and methods to prevent them. Verily uses health platforms and population health tools to increase healthcare performance.
Improving Healthcare Performance
By collaborating with Health Information Systems (HIS), Verily is developing a technology platform to deliver populations with effective tools and services. This platform will help health practitioners and health departments evaluate their performance and to turn data-sets into manageable information.
Some of Verily’s current collaborative projects include:
- Galvani Bioelectronics: Galvani Bioelectronics is a venture between Verily and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) created to help advance the research and development of bioelectronic medicines. With the help of GSK’s drug discovery expertise and knowledge of disease, Verily will use its expertise in device development and data analytics for this project.
- Retinal Imaging: Verily and Nikon are working together to use software and machine models created by Google Research to develop and execute technology for detection of two debilitating eye diseases (Diabetic retinopathy (DR) and diabetic macular edema (DME)). By combining Verily’s deep learning technology and Nikon’s understanding in optical engineering, the focus will be on developing
- solutions for the referral of DR and DME patients to eye care specialists.
- Smart Lens Program: Verily and Alcon are jointly working on ocular devices for sight improvement for people with presbyopia (loss of elasticity of the lens) and helping with post-cataract surgery. This project uses circuits, sensors, and wireless communication for wireless sensing of the eye. Verily is working hand-in-hand with Alcon on biocompatible materials and optic development with a cross-functional team of people from different disciplines.
Verily combines big ideas and partnerships to help find solutions to problems that are affecting global health. With their integrated team members with experts from all different disciplines, Verily is able to express its vision and mission with others. Verily is able to leverage its partnerships to increase their revenue streams. This funding can be another landmark in the digital health industry in upcoming years.