Verily pockets $1B with eyes on partnerships, M&A

Silver Lake, which led the mammoth round, was joined in the investment by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and “other global investment management firms.” (Getty/NosUA)

Six weeks after canning its Novartis-partnered glucose-sensing contact lens project, Verily is raising a $1 billion round that will power new partnerships, “global business development opportunities” and potential acquisitions.

Silver Lake led the mammoth round and was joined in the investment by Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and “other global investment management firms.” The company did not disclose financial terms of the transaction.

“We are taking external funding to increase flexibility and optionality as we expand on our core strategic focus areas,” said Verily CEO Andrew Conrad in a statement. “Adding a well-rounded group of seasoned investors, led by Silver Lake, will further prepare us to execute as healthcare continues the shift towards evidence generation and value-based reimbursement models.”

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RELATED: Novartis, Verily back $300M Medicxi biotech growth fund

The financing comes after a year during which Verily inked multiple partnerships. In May, the company joined forces with Gilead Sciences to analyze the effect the latter’s drugs have on the immune cells of patients with inflammatory diseases. In June, Sanofi, Sensile Medical and Verily teamed up to develop an “all-in-one” insulin patch pump, primarily aimed at patients with Type 2 diabetes—nearly two years after Verily and Sanofi created Onduo, their diabetes-focused joint venture. In July, Verily set up a joint venture with ResMed to apply big data analytics to sleep apnea by developing connected software to assist healthcare providers in identifying and managing patients.

RELATED: Sanofi, Verily launch new diabetes JV

Further, despite halting its smart contact lens project—the device was ultimately unable to consistently measure glucose levels in tears that correlated with blood glucose readings—Verily’s partnership with Novartis continues. The pair is working on a responsive, accommodating contact lens for presbyopia—age-related farsightedness—and a smart intraocular lens for improving sight following cataract surgery.

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