Investment Firm Pumps $800 Million Into Google's Verily

Investment Firm Pumps $800 Million Into Google's Verily January 26, 2017
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – Verily Life Sciences, a division of Alphabet, received an $800 million infusion of cash from Singapore-based investment firm Temasek.

Verily, which was formerly known as Google Life Sciences, did not specify how the investment will be used. Verily is focused on developing various technologies to disrupt the healthcare industry and advance personalized medicine, including a wearable contact lens that will read glucose levels in diabetic patients. One aspect of the lens, which is being developed in conjunction with Novartis, would be an LED light system that would light up to warn the wearer when glucose levels were too high or low. Another eye-wear lens the company is developing with Novartis ’ subsidiary Alcon is an auto-focus lens that automatically adjusts for people who are far-

Earlier this month, Alphabet invested 1.4 billion euros into its Irish offices of Verily, which could bring up to 400 new jobs.

In addition to the deal with Novartis, Verily has forged partnerships with numerous companies to develop medical devices, including Nikon Corporation , 3M, GlaxoSmithKline and Sanofi .

In addition to a focus on the medical lens, in October Verily announced it was taking on the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The company is working on preventing the pesky pests from reproducing with plans of releasing swarms of genetically-altered males into the population that would pass along a gene into offspring that kills them. Another idea of Verily’s is to infect the bugs with the bacteria Wolbachia, so that it prevents the males from properly fertilizing female mosquito eggs.

Temasek recently announced an increased focus on North American technology ventures, including healthcare technology and established an office in San Francisco in late 2016. With the majority of its business operations across Asia, Temasek will be able to pave the way for Verily’s products, after they are ready for commercialization.

As part of the deal with Temasek, the investment firm will obtain a minority stake in the company. According to a statement from both companies, the majority of the $800 million investment will be made “in the coming days” while the remainder is scheduled for the second half of 2017. Verily also announced that Temasek will nominate a director to its operating board.

Last year Verily came under criticism following reports questioning the science behind its moon-shot projects. Over the summer StatNews, which is owned by the Boston Globe, took a hard look at some of Verily’s lofty goals and found the most prominently talked-about ones are “plagued by serious, if not fatal, scientific shortcomings.”

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