- Google parent company Alphabet has led a $1 billion investment in its health technology business Verily, positioning it to forge ahead with its new focus on precision health.
- Verily is now focused on using data from a wide variety of sources to determine the best intervention for a person or community.
- The $1 billion will support initiatives including real world evidence generation and healthcare data platforms that underpin the precision health strategy, strengthening Verily’s position at a time when tech companies such as Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are targeting healthcare.
Verily, then known as Google Life Sciences, emerged from the semi-secret Google X R&D group in 2015. Since then, the company has made headlines for projects like its collaboration with Sanofi to launch diabetes management platform Onduo and its now-shuttered work with Alcon to develop contact lenses that record blood glucose levels.
In March, Stephen Gillett, then the president of Verily, set out the new focus of the company, using data to create individual preventive healthcare programs.
Gillett is now in charge of delivering that vision. In conjunction with the $1 billion investment, Alphabet announced that Gillett will replace Andy Conrad as Verily’s CEO, effective in January, with Conrad pivoting to a new role as executive chairman. The change puts Gillett, who has primarily worked outside of healthcare at companies like Best Buy, Starbucks and Symantec, in charge of Verily.
Exactly how Verily will use the $1 billion is unclear, with the company only saying that it will invest in initiatives in “real world evidence generation, healthcare data platforms, research and care and the underlying technology that drives this work” and “consider further investment in strategic partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions.”
Verily struck a deal to buy SignalPath for its clinical trial management system and partnered with health insurer Highmark Health last year. The SignalPath takeover, which Verily called its first major acquisition, is part of a larger uptick in tech investment in healthcare. In July, Amazon agreed to buy the primary care service One Medical for $3.9 billion.