Google Life Sciences Rebrands As Verily To Pursue Futuristic Medicine

  • Google Life Sciences rebranded itself as Verily and became a subsidiary of Alphabet.
  • Last month, Google Life Sciences and the American Heart Association announced a five-year, $50 million collaboration.
  • Verily was previously a part of the Google X "moonshot" labs.
  • Verily has ongoing projects in medical hardware, software, clinical applications, and sciences, including bio-molecular nanotechnology projects.
  • Google wants to leverage its top position in the computing technologies upon which health care and medicine increasingly depend, to become a major player in life technologies.
Google Life Sciences, the life sciences unit of Google - now Alphabet Inc-C (NASDAQ:GOOG) - rebranded as Verily and became a subsidiary of Alphabet.

"As a life sciences team within Google[x], we were able to combine the best of our technology heritage with expertise from across many fields," states the Verily website. "Now, as an independent company, Verily is focused on using technology to better understand health, as well as prevent, detect, and manage disease."

Last month, Google Life Sciences and the American Heart Association announced a five-year, $50 million collaboration.

In August, Google restructured into the Alphabet holding company. The move separated the company's main online businesses like search, YouTube and Android from the visionary long-term projects called "moonshots."

"[The] newer Google is a bit slimmed down, with the companies that are pretty far afield of our main Internet products contained in Alphabet instead," said Google co-founder Larry Page, now CEO of Alphabet. "What do we mean by far afield? Good examples are our health efforts: Life Sciences (that works on the glucose-sensing contact lens), and Calico (focused on longevity).”

"I am delighted to announce that the life sciences team is now ready to graduate from our X lab and become a standalone Alphabet company, with Andy Conrad as CEO," said Google co-founder Sergey Brin, now President of Alphabet. "While the reporting structure will be different, their goal remains the same. They’ll continue to work with other life sciences companies to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing—and, hopefully—transform the way we detect, prevent, and manage disease."

The rebranding has been completed on December 7. The brand new website states that Verily, with its advanced research tools, large scale computing power, and unique technical expertise, will work with partners from across the industry and many fields of research to develop new technology, launch studies, and start companies. "Our mission is to bring together technology and life sciences to uncover new truths about health and disease," is Verily's bold mission statement. "Picture a world in which technology and life sciences are not distinct, but partners with a united mission."

The hardware team at Verily is building devices and tools that are smaller, more powerful, and more convenient than ever before. For example, Verily is developing a contact smart lens with an embedded glucose sensor to enable people with diabetes to monitor their condition continuously. Software specialists are developing systems that can analyze complex health information with machine learning algorithms and computational techniques. For example, a research program in multiple sclerosis combines wearable sensors with traditional clinical tests and new lab-based tests.

The Verily clinical effort aims to apply the latest technology to the study of health and disease. The Baseline Study is one of these dedicated efforts, a multi-year initiative that aims to identify the traits of a healthy human by closely observing the transition to disease. The science team is pursuing a better understanding of the processes that lead to conditions like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, using automated experimental and computational systems biology platforms and life sciences tools. Examples of Verily's science work are bio-molecular nanotechnology projects for precision diagnostics and therapeutic delivery, and advanced imaging methods for applications ranging from early diagnosis to surgical robotics.

Fast Company notes that Google has two important resources - cheap data storage and processing power - to become an important player in the new age of medicine characterized by the pervasive use of sensors, digital medical records, Big Data, and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

In particular, Google is one of the top players in algorithms and sophisticated computing infrastructures for AI. The best statement of Alphabet's bold and ambitious vision of future health care, medicine, and life sciences, is due to Bill Maris, President and Managing Partner of Google Ventures."If you ask me today, is it possible to live to be 500? The answer is yes," he said.

With the launch of Verily, which presumably will work in close partnership with Calico, Alphabet is making a spectacular and potentially disruptive entry in the health and medicine sectors. The company wants to leverage its top position in the computing technologies upon which health care and medicine increasingly depend, to become a major player in life technologies. It seem likely that Verily and Calico will soon contribute to boosting Alphabet's stock.

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