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20 Things You Didn't Know about Verily


Many subsidiaries form the conglomerate that is Alphabet Inc., the most popular being Google itself. Verily is one that not many people know about but is still an integral member of the conglomerate. Verily, essentially, is a research organization solely dedicated to studying the sciences of life. Its raison d'etre is to develop ways to merge software, medicine, and professional care into one entity for the greater good of the general public. Not many people know of Verily, and this article hopes to remedy that, so here are twenty things you might not have known about Verily.

1. It was formally known as Google Life Sciences

Before it took on the name Verily Life Sciences, the company was known as Google Life Sciences, according to Wikipedia. The name was a very simple one, as it highlighted that it was part of Google and that it was mainly dealing with life sciences. The reason why it was named so was that it was a subsidiary of Google X. This was the case until August 10, 2015, when Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, announced that the company would soon become an independent subsidiary of Alphabet. What followed was a huge restructuring process that was only completed in October of the same year. In December, the company that was formally known as Google Life Sciences became Verily.

2. It is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.

Verily is a subsidiary of Alphabet Inc., according to Alphabet Inc. As mentioned earlier, it was a division of Google X, but after Google in its entirety was restructured, the company became one of many subsidiaries of the new conglomerate. The headquarter of Alphabet Inc. is Mountain View, California. It is the third-largest technology company in terms of revenue and one of the most valuable companies in the world in general. This is because it houses the most popular search engine globally, Google, and a myriad of other Google subsidiaries. Apart from Verily, the others include CapitalG, a private equity firm, Google Fiber, in charge of Google Access; X, which is in charge of research and development for moonshot technologies, and Wing, a company that focuses on drone-based delivery of freight.

3. The research team

As of July of 2014, the team behind Verily was a research team that included Andrew Conrad, who is the founder of the National Genetics Institute by LabCorp, Vik Bajaj, an expert when it comes to nuclear magnetic resonance, Marija Pavlovic, who is in charge of studying the effects that radiation has on DNA, Brian Otis, who also worked on the glucose-sensing contact lens by Google Venture, Alberto Vitari, the cancer biologist, and Mark DePristo, who while at the Board Institute worked in the Genome Analysis Toolkit.

4. The CEO, Andrew Conrad

The Chief Executive Officer of Verily is Andrew Conrad, who is a geneticist by profession. He is responsible for recruiting a multi-disciplinary team of behavioral scientists, doctors, chemists, engineers, and data and health scientists for the company to conduct the research that it has on health and diseases.

5. He was the founder of the National Genetics Institute

He is a graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from California, UCLA. He is also the co-founder of the National Genetics Institute, as mentioned earlier, and, as the chief scientist, he helped grow it to become one of the largest genetics labs in the world. In 2005, Conrad was instrumental in setting up the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The founder of the project was David H Murdock, who is the chairman and owner of Dole Food Company. Murdock invested 700 million dollars into the project.

6. Acquisitions

On September 9, 2014, the company acquired Lift Labs, according to Mobi Health News. Lift Labs was at the time responsible for the design of Liftware. Liftware is a brand name for a spoon designed to counteract the tremor associated with a myriad of medical conditions such as Parkinson's and essential tremors. The device does so by detecting the tremors using an accelerometer and then aptly responded to the said tremors using an actuator. It was made available in December of 2013, but Google did launch another version of the spoon in November of 2014. Lift Labs was founded by Anupam Pathak, who is a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan.

7. Funding

In January 2019, Verily Life Sciences announced that it had raised one billion dollars in funding, which is a huge achievement in itself. The company stated that it has and would use the said many to attain its missions and objectives regarding health and its integration with technology and professional healthcare.

8. Robot-assisted surgery

It was announced at the end of 2019 that Verily Life Sciences had sold its stake in a joint venture with Johnston & Johnstone. The said venture was called Verb Surgical, and it was created to find a way to develop and improve robot-assisted surgery. Verily's sale of the said venture came after the two companies, according to Med Tech Dive, had worked on the product for more than four years. The details of the deal were not made public.

9. It has ventured into the insurance

In August 2020, the company announced that it would be venturing into insurance by launching a new company called Coefficient Insurance. This new subsidiary, the company said, would receive its backing from the Swiss Re Group commercial insurance unit.

10. Partnership with Sanofi

Sanofi is a multinational pharmaceutical corporation with its headquarters in Paris, and is the fifth-largest pharmaceutical corporation based on sales. It has a long history of introducing state-of-the-art medicine. In keeping with its philosophy of being ahead of the curve, the company decided to partner with Verily to develop a myriad of extensive and intensive solutions in health. The said solutions combine professional care, software, and electronic and mechanical devices to attain simple and intelligent disease management efficiently and effectively. It also ensures that people with diabetes get all the requirements.

11. The formation of Ondou

The type-2 diabetes healthcare program joint partnership between the two companies is called Onduo It makes sure that data analytics, software solutions, and professional care and treatment work in tandem to ascertain that people with diabetes get all they need. Although the French company walked away from the project in 2019, Verily, the sole investor has said that it still believes in the venture and that it is more than committed to giving it time and money to grow and proliferate.

12. The Baseline Study

The Project Baseline Study is the initial initiative of the broader and more intricate Project Baseline, which, essentially, is an effort to try and design a reference, a 'baseline' so to speak, of good health. The project also aims to provide a rich data platform that makes it possible to reference and better understand where the transition between good health and disease is and identify any additional risks and factors associated with the said disease. The Baseline Study is a project that aims at collecting genetic, molecular, and wearable device information from a large enough populace to create a picture of what a healthy human being should look like.

13. The beginning of the project.

As you'd expect, this has and is a pretty demanding and arduous task because of the nuances that come with human health, as well as other issues. However, Verily is well committed to this endeavor. The project began in 2014 when the company recruited volunteers to collect bodily fluids such as saliva, urine, blood, and even tears. The public phase was launched in April of 2017. Since then, participants have begun to enroll in the program. The Duke University School of Medicine and Stanford Medicine will be the review boards that will monitor the study and make sure that all the data collected is not misused.

14. The Tricorder platform

The tricorder first appeared in Star Trek, and since then, scientists and medics alike have been trying to replicate something close to it. A medical tricorder is a handheld and portable device that consumers can use to self-diagnose medical conditions within seconds. The device will diagnose any disease, show all the personal health metrics including heart rate, blood sugar level, et cetera, monitor the current heath, summarize the person's health state, and confirm almost immediately whether the person is healthy or not. There have been strides to create an all-around dynamic tricorder. Right now, there are many devices present in the medical field and that help medical professionals analyze specific ailments and take detailed health readings. There has been no one all-purpose customer device that can diagnose numerous conditions. With the advent of nanotechnology, the medical tricorder looks like a real possibility, and that is why Verily is working to make sure that if a breakthrough is to be found, it is them who make it.

15. The development of the bio-electronic medicines

Bioelectronic is simply the research field that aims to converge electronics and biology. A quintessence of this can be seen with the glucose monitor, a device that gives diabetic patients the ability to measure and control the level of blood sugar in their bodies. Moreover, it has also been used to treat patients with chronic pain, deafness, and Parkinson's. Verily understands the important role electronics has and can play when it comes to medicine. This is why the company decided to work in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline to develop and commercialize bioelectronic medicines and procedures.

16. It has a partnership with GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline itself is a British pharmaceutical company that is the sixth-largest pharmaceutical company globally in terms of sales. It has always strived to be ahead of the competition. It is the first company to develop the malaria vaccine. Verily working with GlaxoSmithKline means that two of the largest medical and health companies, and will be striving to make sure that bioelectronic integration into normal health procedures is achieved.

17. The miniaturized continuous glucose monitors

Continuous glucose monitors are essential to people with diabetes. With this in mind, Verily is endeavoring to create a miniature version of the standard continuous glucose monitor. This will make it possible for people to carry the said device around without anyone noticing and without any inconvenience to the one having the said device.

18. Partnership with Dexcon Inc.

To this end, Verily has partnered with Dexcom Inc, which is a company that develops and manufactures continuous glucose monitors and distributes them. The said partnership has been in place for some time now, and by all accounts, it looks like it will be a successful one.

19. It had a discontinued project

Verily had begun a project that aimed to create contact lenses that would allow people with diabetes to continually check their sugar levels in a discrete and non-intrusive method. The project was a joint venture with Alcon. However, the said project was not a success, and Verily eventually terminated the project on November 6, 2018.

20. Developing smart shoes that will be able to detect falls

It was accurately reported that Verily was developing health-tracking shoes that would be able to monitor the user's health and weight. This isn't as nascent a feature as you may think. Apple's smart watch does have a feature akin to this, and one that can call the user's contacts if the user falls and is not able to move. The smart shoes are specially created for the elderly, according to 9to5Google, and those with medical ailments that require constant supervision of weight and other body metrics. It is not clear whether Verily will create a new shoe from scratch or partner with leading shoe manufacturers to integrate the software into already existing versions. However, what is clear is that this project is very exciting, and many people are looking forward to it.

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Allen Lee

Written by Allen Lee

Allen Lee is a Toronto-based freelance writer who studied business in school but has since turned to other pursuits. He spends more time than is perhaps wise with his eyes fixed on a screen either reading history books, keeping up with international news, or playing the latest releases on the Steam platform, which serve as the subject matter for much of his writing output. Currently, Lee is practicing the smidgen of Chinese that he picked up while visiting the Chinese mainland in hopes of someday being able to read certain historical texts in their original language.

Read more posts by Allen Lee

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