Google/Alphabet’s Life Science Division, Verily, Raised $700 Million

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Verily, Google/Alphabet’s life sciences company, raised $700 million in an investment round that included Alphabet, Silver Lake, Temasek, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and others. The company plans to use the funds to expand some of its leading commercial businesses, including Baseline and Verily Health Platforms.

Verily has a tendency to describe their programs in lofty terms that don’t actually say what the programs do. Verily’s Project Baseline is described as an “end-to-end ecosystem designed to make clinical research more efficient.” Verily Health Platforms “supports population health, clinical care delivery and chronic disease management through programs like Healthy at Work, Onduo and Coefficient.”

Broadly, Verily integrates data and technology with healthcare. It also developed a test for COVID-19, which the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization (EUA) in September.

Project Baseline uses its digital platform to help clinical trial organizers find study participants. The company indicates it had screened and tested almost two million people at 351 testing locations. Its Health Platforms business also launched Healthy at Work to help businesses and universities reopen safely, by what the website says “by combining testing, symptom tracking, data analytics, and the latest guidance from the CDC and other public health authorities.” Its Onduo program is a virtual diabetes clinic that also supports hypertension and general wellness. The Coefficient platform, backed by Swiss Re, is designed “to provide employer stop-loss insurance by applying a unique precision risk approach.”

Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is the commercial unit of Swiss Re Group. Stop-loss insurance is a form of commercial insurance that protects self-funded employers from large and unexpected employee health benefit claims. The overall idea is to decrease blind spots in insurance coverage and offer greater cost control for self-funded employers.

Verily also expects to use the funds to expand its research programs in digital surgery, pathology and immunology. It also has population health initiatives, such as COVID-19 testing.

“We’re humbled and excited about the opportunity to expand the scope and rapidly scale our products and services,” said Andrew Conrad, chief executive officer and founder at Verily. “With this new round of funding from our largest investors, they are strengthening their commitment to help expedite our original vision. 2021 will be a year of significant and focused growth for Verily’s operations as we continue to drive innovation in our core programs, launching more studies and study tools on Baseline to support decentralized research, and expanding our Health Platforms product offerings and services for employers, providers and patients.”

This $700 round was Verily’s third. In 2017, it raised $800 million from Singapore’s Temasek. In January 2019, Verily raised $1 billion in a funding round led by Silver Lake.

This round is related to its umbrella company, Alphabet, which has increased outside investment for what it’s calling “Other Bets” to position themselves for future independence. The “Other Bets” was originally established under former Alphabet chief executive officer Larry Page, who stepped down in December 2019. The program includes various long-term businesses, including Verily, self-driving car program Waymo and Sidewalk Labs, an urban innovation project.

In Alphabet’s third-quarter earnings report, “Other Bets” reported $178 million in quarterly revenue, up from $155 million in the same period the year before, but basically, pocket change compared to Alphabet’s overall quarterly revenue of $46.1 billion. Operating losses in “Other Bets” was $1.10 billion, an increase from $941 million the year earlier for the same period.

Silver Lake’s co-chief executive officer Egon Durban, stated, “Verily has an impressive roster of platforms and a demonstrated ability to apply core capabilities in laboratory and data science, engineering, and clinical expertise to tackle the challenges of a healthcare system in need of an overhaul for the benefit of all the stakeholders it serves. We’re here as a partner to Andy, Alphabet, the board and the management team, and a believer in their vision of empowering people and organizations with solutions that support personal and population health journeys, and of helping to unify the ecosystem, from research to care.”

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