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Google Life Sciences Rebranded 'Verily' Under Alphabet

Verily, formerly known as Google Life Sciences division, aims to use technology to understand and improve human health.
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Alphabet, the parent company of Google, has renamed its Google Life Sciences division as Verily. The division is focused on using technology to make advancements in understanding disease and on improving human health.

Google Life Sciences, like Google, became an independent division under Alphabet when the umbrella organization was announced in August. The research division was originally created within Google X in 2012 to develop smart contact lenses.

Now it has a larger vision and new name. Verily, of course, means truly or certainly.

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"There's no user manual for the human being," says a video posted to Verily's website. "A new car has up to 400 different sensors. You know the oil pressure; you know how much air is in your tires. But we don't do that with people."

The company defines its mission as bringing together life sciences and technology "to uncover new truths about health and disease." It aims to detect disease earlier, understand it better, and intervene more precisely during the course of a disease.

Four core divisions make up Verily: hardware, software, clinical, and science. All teams combine their research tools with technical expertise and industry partnerships to develop new tech, begin new studies, and start companies, Verily writes.

  • Its hardware sector focuses on building smaller and more powerful health tools and devices. The team is continuing work on the smart contact lens project, which creates lenses with embedded glucose sensors so people with diabetes can measure the glucose in their tears.
  • On the software side, a group of analytics pros, software engineers, and UX designers are working to create products and algorithms to analyze health data and to identify patterns that can diagnose disease. The more the group members learn about diseases, the better they may understand why conditions evolve differently in different people.
  • The clinical division partners with hospitals, medical societies, government, and other industry groups to apply technology to research on health and disease. Clinical experts also work alongside the hardware and software teams to inform Verily product development to ensure their work is addressing medical needs.
  • Verily's science team conducts research to better understand how conditions like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease progress. Employees create automated experimental and computational systems, biology platforms, and life sciences tools to gather biological data on health and disease.

Verily will be led by CEO Andy Conrad, a cell biologist and former chief scientific officer at LabCorp. Its CTO, Brian Otis, founded the original smart contact lens project at Google X, and now leads hardware, including implanted devices and wearables.

Google has been exploring the health space for a while now. Earlier this year, Google Life Sciences built an experimental wristband used to track health data in clinical trials and drug tests. In March, the search giant announced its collaboration with Johnson & Johnson to develop robots for assisting surgeons.

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