Alphabet's life-science company just raised another $1 billion for a mysterious bet on healthcare

GoogleAlphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat will join Verily’s board.
  • Enigmatic life-science company Verily has raised $US1 billion in a mega-funding round led by technology-investment firm Silver Lake.
  • Formerly called Google Life Sciences, Verily aims to develop tools that help collect and organise health data. Projects include a continuous glucose monitor for diabetes and better contact lenses.
  • As part of the investment, Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat will join Verily’s board.

Verily, the enigmatic life-science company formerly called Google Life Sciences, has raised $US1 billion from investors.

The company announced the mammoth round on Thursday but did not include details of what the funds would be used for. Technology-investment firm Silver Lake is the leading new investor, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan also joined on as a first-time backer.

“We are taking external funding to increase flexibility and optionality as we expand on our core strategic focus areas,” Andrew Conrad, Verily’s CEO, said in a statement.

A subgroup of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, Verily aims to develop tools that help collect and organise health data. Its list of semipublic projects include work on a miniaturized continuous glucose monitor with partner organisation Dexcom, contact lenses for people with age-related farsightedness and for sight improvement after cataract surgery, and a watch that lets researchers collect data for clinical studies.


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Verily researchers had also been working on a contact lens equipped with sensors to measure glucose levels for people with diabetes, but announced in November that they were pausing work on the initiative, which began in 2014 as a partnership with Alcon, the eye-care division of drug giant Novartis.

As part of the new funding, Ruth Porat, Alphabet’s chief financial officer, will be nominated to join Verily’s operating board. Egon Durban, the managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake, will also be nominated to join the board.

“Verily’s unique capabilities, world-class partnerships and bold vision are enabling the company to tackle the most significant problems impacting global healthcare,” Durban said in the statement.

While more details about what the funds will be used for were scant, the round marks only the second time Verily has ever raised outside funds. The first, almost exactly two years ago, was an $US800 million round led by Singaporean investment firm Temasek.


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“We look forward to working with Andy and the entire Verily team in their mission to use cutting-edge science and technology to change the paradigm of care delivery and improve clinical outcomes,” said Durban.

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