Formerly known as Google Life Sciences, Verily once constituted part of Google X, Alphabet’s stealth R&D division, but it rebranded as Verily in 2015 as a completely independent Alphabet company.
In a nutshell, Verily is all about building technology to “better understand health,” as well as preventing and managing diseases. Back in September, Verily partnered with French drugmaker Sanofi to create a $500 million joint venture to combat diabetes through combining devices with services. “The company [Sanofi] will leverage Verily’s experience in miniaturized electronics, analytics, and consumer software development, with Sanofi’s clinical expertise and experience in bringing innovative treatments to people living with diabetes,” the announcement stated at the time.
Another recent example to emerge from Verily is the Liftware Level, a spoon that helps people with impaired movement feed themselves independently.
Founded in 1974, Temasek is an investment company that claims to have a $180 billion portfolio across telecommunications, media & technology, transportation, real estate, and, crucially, life sciences — among other sectors. By plowing $800 million into Verily, Temasek hopes to help commercialize a range of healthcare products globally. Most of the funds will be made available imminently, with the remainder scheduled for later in 2017.
“Temasek has a history of thoughtful and enduring capital investments, including in life sciences and healthcare, and this commitment to a long-term collaboration with Verily is a meaningful affirmation of our strategy,” explained Andrew Conrad, CEO of Verily, in a press release. “With a substantial network and insights into the economies in Asia, Temasek will provide valuable guidance as we look to ex-US markets with our development partners.”
In return for its investment, Temasek says it will receive a “minority stake” in Verily, and it will also nominate a director to Verily’s board.
Life sciences has emerged as a key sector for investment in recent times. Back in September, Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, through their company “The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” announced a new $3 billion program to cure, prevent, or manage “all diseases” within their children’s lifetime.
Alphabet has another health-focused subsidiary besides Verily — Calico was founded in 2013 by Google and Arthur D. Levinson, as an R&D biotech company that focuses on extending human life.