Yea, Verily: Google's health-focused sibling secures $700M to rapidly scale up commercial work

Google’s life science-focused sibling company Verily has raised a mammoth $700 million investment round to help rapidly expand the commercial reach of its health programs.

This includes broadening its digital platform for gathering clinical study participants, known as Project Baseline, as well as its efforts supporting the personal management of chronic diseases, such as its Onduo virtual diabetes clinic.

The proceeds will also help advance Verily’s research programs in digital surgery, pathology and immunology, plus its population health initiatives that include COVID-19 testing in the workplace and universities.

The round’s investors included Verily and Google’s corporate parent, Alphabet, as well as Silver Lake, Temasek, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and other backers.

"We’re humbled and excited about the opportunity to expand the scope and rapidly scale our products and services,” Verily founder and CEO Andrew Conrad said. “With this new round of funding from our largest investors, they are strengthening their commitment to help expedite our original vision.”

“2021 will be a year of significant and focused growth for Verily’s operations as we continue to drive innovation in our core programs, launching more studies and study tools on Baseline to support decentralized research, and expanding our Health Platforms product offerings and services for employers, providers and patients,” Conrad added.

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In the past year, Baseline has supported COVID-19 research efforts through multiple partners and has helped screen nearly 2 million people across 351 testing locations nationwide. 

At the same time, it launched a new stop-loss health insurance venture in August, aimed at protecting employers from large, unexpected benefit claims from employees. Dubbed Coefficient, it aims to provide novel insurance and payment models and, in the future, integrate with Verily’s care management programs such as Onduo, toward the ultimate goal of providing better health outcomes while lowering costs.

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Onduo, meanwhile, began life in 2016 as a $500 million joint venture with Sanofi. But that relationship was restructured in 2019 as the drugmaker and its new CEO began to move away from diabetes research.

Since then, Verily has expanded Onduo’s reach to all states in the continental U.S. and built out its virtual coaching platforms to cover high blood pressure and general wellness in addition to type 2 diabetes—where clinical studies presented this year showed its digital programs could help people better control their blood sugar levels.

“Verily has an impressive roster of platforms and a demonstrated ability to apply core capabilities in laboratory and data science, engineering, and clinical expertise to tackle the challenges of a healthcare system in need of an overhaul for the benefit of all the stakeholders it serves,” said Silver Lake co-CEO Egon Durban. 

“We’re here as a partner to Andy, Alphabet, the board and the management team, and a believer in their vision of empowering people and organizations with solutions that support personal and population health journeys, and of helping to unify the ecosystem, from research to care,” Durban said.