Alphabet’s Biotech R&D Arm Verily Raises $1B to Fuel Growth

Xconomy San Francisco — 

Verily, the biotech research and development company owned by Google parent Alphabet, has raised $1 billion in an investment round led by Menlo Park, CA-based private equity titan Silver Lake.

The South San Francisco, CA-based company was formerly known as Google Life Sciences before Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOG) spun it off from the search engine giant and rebranded it in 2017. Other new investors in the round include Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and other global investment management firms, Verily said in a Thursday announcement about the investment.

Verily CEO Andrew Conrad, in a prepared statement, said the company had decided to take additional outside funding to increase its “flexibility and optionality” as it considers investments in strategic partnerships, global business development opportunities, and potential acquisitions.

In addition to bolstering its coffers, Conrad said that having experienced investors, including Silver Lake’s managing partnering and managing director Egon Durban, who will be nominated to join Verily’s operating board as part of the deal, will help “prepare us to execute” amid the healthcare industry’s continued shift towards business models based on value-generation and evidence generation. Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat will also be nominated, Verily said.

It’s not the first time the company has accepted money from entities other than its corporate parent: In 2017, Temasek Holdings, which is affiliated with the Singapore government, pledged $800 million in exchange for a minority stake.

Later that year, Verily debuted Baseline, a long-range health study that aims to collect data from at least 10,000 participants and track them over four years.

“We are taking a long-range view in life sciences and healthcare, and Baseline is a way to start to look for observations that could provide a reference set for a new set of tools and technologies,” said Jessica Mega, Verily’s chief medical officer, at the time.