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V is for Verily: life sciences' new entry in Google's Alphabet

Google [x]'s life sciences division renamed

Google

Google [x]'s life sciences division will now be known as Verily, operating as a division of the technology giant's umbrella company Alphabet.

The somewhat archaic branding for Verily is designed to impart an air of reliability and highlight its resolve to gain a true understanding of the continuum between health and disease, according to the company.

The aim of the division is to "truly understand health and to better prevent, detect and manage disease", according to its new website, which asks visitors to "picture a world in which technology and life sciences are not distinct, but partners with a united mission".

Google Life Sciences came to public attention with the announcement of its project to develop blood sugar-tracking contact lenses for diabetics - now partnered with Novartis.

Since then news has emerged of a wearable device to measure pulse, heart rhythm and skin temperature, robotic pills and nanoparticles to detect disease.

The new company's website says it will have four teams focusing on hardware, software, clinical and science, and will be headed by Andy Conrad, formerly chief scientific officer of LabCorp. 

The head of the smart contact lens project - Brian Otis - will be chief technical officer while the clinical and research teams will be led by cardiologist Jessica Mega.

"Verily is a new company that is focused on bringing together technology, science and medicine in the places where we think we can have the biggest impact on the detection, management, and prevention of disease," said a spokesperson.

A video introducing the new company notes that the overarching aim of Verily is to “detect disease earlier, understand it better and intervene in the course of the disease more precisely". 

Verily sits alongside Alphabet/Google's other health-focused venture Calico, which was formed in 2013 with the aim of understanding and tackling ageing and has already forged a $250m alliance with AbbVie. 

In August, Google set up Alphabet as a holding company to replace Google Inc as the official publicly-traded entity for the group, separating Google as its established search engine business from more speculative technology ventures.

Article by
Phil Taylor

11th December 2015

From: Research

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