Verily clinches $1B from parent company Alphabet, shakes up leadership team

Verily is preparing to expand its precision health businesses and got a $1 billion boost from its parent company to fuel its next stage of growth.

Alphabet's life sciences arm also announced a leadership shakeup as company founder Andy Conrad will shift to an advisory role. Conrad will become executive chairman of the Verily Board and current president Stephen Gillett is moving into the CEO role to take over day-to-day leadership.

Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja is leaving Verily for another unidentified opportunity, the company announced. 

The leadership changes are the result of "thoughtful succession planning" led by Conrad and the board and in recognition of the skills and experience required to lead Verily as it becomes a "more operationally and commercially focused company executing on its precision health strategy," company executives said.

The eye-popping funding round will be used to support the company’s core initiatives focused on real-world evidence generation, healthcare data platforms, research and care and its underlying technology, the company said in a press release.

Verily also will eye further investment in strategic partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions, executives said.

From a ground-level view, Verily has a broad focus in healthcare and life sciences, with projects ranging from biomedical research to virtual care to wearables to even technology for mosquito eradication.

The Alphabet subsidiary has steadily extended its reach into diverse areas to include care solutions for sleep apnea and diabetes to developing devices like miniaturized continuous glucose monitors. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the company also shifted its focus to COVID screening, testing and research programs.

Back in March, Amy Abernethy, M.D., president of Verily’s clinical research business, told Fierce Healthcare that the puzzle pieces of Verily's work across healthcare and clinical research are starting to fit together.

Verily's goal is to use its technological capabilities combined with data to advance precision health across clinical research and care delivery including chronic condition management and value-based care initiatives, Abernethy said.

Verily closed out 2020 with a massive $700 million funding round that it’s used to rapidly scale up its commercial work. It has raised $3.5 billion to date, according to Crunchbase.

Last year, Verily logged its first major buy-out by picking up software developer SignalPath to fold the trial management system into its Baseline platform.

Verily has rapidly ramped up its work in healthcare and research in the past two years with new initiatives and new hires. The company expanded its work with employers through its Healthy at Work program and virtual care offerings. Launched in June 2020, the Healthy at Work program helps businesses and universities reopen safely with vaccine tracking and testing capabilities.

Verily expanded the reach of its virtual clinic, called Onduo, into multiple chronic conditions and also launched digital services geared toward mental and behavioral health. These moves bring Verily a step closer to its goals of delivering whole-person care through a single telehealth app.

The company also launched a stop-loss insurance company, which it has rebranded as Granular.

Verily also is leveraging its technology and new care models to help address mental health and substance use disorders. The company's OneFifteen business, a tech-enabled addiction treatment center in Dayton, Ohio, "grew substantially" in 2021, Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D., Verily's president of health platforms, during a Fierce JPM Week interview.

Lee said back in January 2022 that Verily has achieved "three- to fourfold growth" in revenue year over year in the last several years.

Verily's ongoing investment in its clinical research business and other commercial activities represent an opportunity for sustained revenue for the company, Jeff Becker, principal analyst, healthcare at market intelligence company CB Insights, told Fierce Healthcare last year.

There has been speculation that Verily is looking to untangle itself from Google and move outside its parent company, Alphabet, which could signal an initial public offering.

Alphabet doesn't break out Verily's revenue. In its most full-year 2021 earnings report, Alphabet reported "Other Bets" full-year revenue of $753 million, up from $657 million a year ago. "Other Bets" include more innovative projects within the company and, according to Alphabet, revenues are generated primarily from the sale of health technology and internet services. But that $753 million is a minuscule percentage of the company’s overall 2021 revenue of $257 billion.

Meanwhile, operating losses in the "Other Bets" division increased $805 million from 2020 to 2021.