Deal-hungry Verily secures $1B in fresh funding, months after pressing pause on smart lens project

Roughly two years after procuring its first outside investment, Verily — the prolific deal-making life sciences unit of Alphabet — has secured $1 billion in fresh funds led by Silver Lake.

Andrew Conrad

As the lines between healthcare and technology blur, the unit — formerly known as Google Life Sciences — is developing tools to collate and organize health data, and utilize this data with its partners to better develop drugs and devices as well as inform therapeutic adoption. The money will be used to fuel Verily’s voracious appetite for deals, partnerships and acquisitions. The company, which counts former FDA commissioner Robert Califf as an adviser, already has a laundry list of alliances in its arsenal.

Last year it tied up with Gilead, giving the drugmaker access to its immunology platform to help the company weed out patient subtypes more likely to respond to its drugs-in-development. Sanofi has a JV with Verily in Cambridge, Massachusetts to tackle diabetes, while GSK is working with the Alphabet subsidiary to develop nanotech-based bioelectronic therapeutics.

The smart lens project Verily was working on with Alcon, Novartis’ eye-care division, to better manage diabetes was paused in November, due to inconsistent results.

Egon Durban

The new round of funding, which included an injection from the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and other global investment management firms, comes after Verily raised $800 million in January 2017 from Singapore-based Temasek. Financial terms of the new transaction were not disclosed, although Verily said Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat and Egon Durban, Silver Lake managing partner and managing director, will be nominated to its operating board.

“Adding a well-rounded group of seasoned investors…will further prepare us to execute as healthcare continues the shift towards evidence generation and value-based reimbursement models,” Verily chief Andrew Conrad said in a statement on Thursday.

Image: Verily headquarters in South San Francisco. AP IMAGES

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