This morning Alphabet life science subsidiary Verily announced a staggering $1 billion in new venture funding led by Silver Lake, with participation from Ontario Teacher’s Pension Plan and other global investment management firms. As part of the deal, Silver Lake Managing Partner and Director Egon Durban will be nominated to the company’s operating board, as will Ruth Porat, chief financial officer at Alphabet.
This isn't the first large cash infusion for the company. Two years ago Verily took $800 million in funding from Temasek, a Singapore-based investment company which acquired a minority stake of the company as part of the deal.
What they do
Verily is Alphabet’s life sciences research branch. The company has been involved in the digital space for years with ventures in multiple fields from diabetes to sleep. Not too long ago the company teamed up with Sanofi on a project called Onduo, which is a joint venture focused on digitally-driven diabetes management.
The company has also teamed up with Novartis subsidiary Alcon, to research a glucose-sensing contact lens. But in November the company announced that it had put the breaks on the project— at least for the time being.
What it’s for
The new money will be put towards building more partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions, according to a press statement.
“We are taking external funding to increase flexibility and optionality as we expand on our core strategic focus areas,” Andrew Conrad, CEO of Verily, said in a statement. “Adding a well-rounded group of seasoned investors, led by Silver Lake, will further prepare us to execute as healthcare continues the shift towards evidence generation and value-based reimbursement models.”
While the industry continues to rake in funding, the Verily raise is an outlier when it comes to the funding amount. In 2018 Peloton topped the funding list by landing $550 million in Series F money. In fact, 2018 was the most funded year for digital health startups yet, according to a RockHealth report. But to date no digital health company has raised this much in one funding round.
Of course, Verily is not a typical digital health startup. For one thing, it's a subsidiary of Google. For another, it's opertations also dip into the life sciences, an area of healthcare where funding rounds tend to run higher.
On the record
“Verily’s unique capabilities, world-class partnerships and bold vision are enabling the company to tackle the most significant problems impacting global healthcare,” Egon Durban, managing partner and managing director of Silver Lake, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with Andy and the entire Verily team in their mission to use cutting-edge science and technology to change the paradigm of care delivery and improve clinical outcomes.”