Verily laying off 15% of workforce, trimming down business lines: 'We've made some hard but necessary choices'

Alphabet healthcare and life science subsidiary Verily Life Sciences has informed employees in an email that it is laying off more than 200 people amid a broader reorganization and strategy shift.

The cuts, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, represent about 15% of the company’s more than 1,600 employees.

“We are making changes that refine our strategy, prioritize our product portfolio and simplify our operating model,” new CEO Stephen Gillett wrote in a notice to employees shared in a Verily blog post. “We will advance fewer initiatives with greater resources. In doing so, Verily will move from multiple lines of business to one centralized product organization with increasingly connected healthcare solutions.”

Gillett wrote in the notice that Verily will be focusing its strategic efforts on “becoming the data and evidence backbone for precision health,” which will include AI and data science applications.

With that comes the end of several Verily portfolio products, he continued. Among those on the cutting room floor are Verily Value Suite, a data-driven clinical and financial insights platform, and other early-stage products around remote patient monitoring for heart failure and microneedles for drug delivery.

Some of the work on these areas will be repurposed under other continuing focuses, as will some—but not all—Verily employees who were assigned to those projects, Gillett wrote. Other layoffs are related to Verily taking full control of its Granular and Onduo joint ventures or redundancy with its new operating structure.

“Our most immediate priority is ensuring that these Veeps [Verily employees] are given the support they need to ease their transitions, and we will offer help in many ways over the coming weeks and months ranging from severance to coaching and outplacement services,” Gillett wrote. “I am truly grateful for their contributions.”

The company’s new “simplified” operating model also comes with leadership changes.

Specifically, the job titles for Amy Abernethy, M.D., Ph.D., have been expanded to president of product and chief medical officer. Scott Burke, chief technology officer, will see his responsibilities expand to cover the hardware engineering and devices team, while Lisa Greenbaum has taken on a newly created chief commercial officer role that oversees the sales, marketing and corporate strategy teams.

Jordi Parramon, president of Verily’s devices business, is slated to leave the company “later this year” and will ease the transition as an adviser until then. Media reports have also confirmed the departures of co-founder and former Chief Medical Officer Jessica Mega, M.D., as well as former President of Health Platforms Vivian Lee, M.D., Ph.D.

Gillett said Verily employees will be learning more in a companywide update scheduled for Jan. 18.

“Our path forward is driven by the need to make deliberate choices about where we can have the greatest impact in precision health and to put ourselves on a faster path to sustained commercial success,” Gillett wrote. “We've made some hard but necessary choices to focus our resources where we can make a meaningful difference and that will help us build a business that impacts the healthcare ecosystem with interconnected products as we grow.”

Gillett himself is new to the CEO role, having officially stepped into the position Jan. 3. He had joined in 2020 as chief operating officer before taking on the president role in late 2021. He was preceded by longtime executive and geneticist Andy Conrad, Ph.D.