Alphabet closing Verily health data Israel R&D center

Google offices Mountain View, California Photo: Shutterstock achinthamb
Google offices Mountain View, California Photo: Shutterstock achinthamb

Verily Life Sciences has 25 employees in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Alphabet's health data company Verily Life Sciences (a sister company of Google) has confirmed to UK newspaper "The Guardian" that it is closing its Israel operations. Verily's Israel development center, which was launched in 2021, has 25 employees in Tel Aviv and Haifa.

Verily's Israel operations are led by Prof. Ehud Rivlin, who previously worked for Google Health as part of his role as a professor of computer science at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology. Verily's Israel operations, which have mainly focused on computing for imaging and minimally invasive surgeries, will close in October.

The company told "The Guardian" that the closure was in no way related to the war in Gaza or the economic situation in Israel but rather business focus after Verily decided to give up the company's fields of activity in which the Israel center is engaged.

This is not Verily's first round of layoffs this year. In January it was reported that the company parted ways with 15% of its employees in a general round of layoffs, and in March it closed a development center in the field of molecular biology in the US.

Alphabet plans an IPO for Verily

Verily is one of the companies founded by Google's parent company, Alphabet, to address potential future data streams. Verily has raised about $3.5 billion from Alphabet and external sources. The company aims to gradually detach itself from Alphabet and stand on its feet as an independent company, perhaps through an IPO.

Verily deals with the interface between data and health. Among other things, the company has developed a digital platform for managing clinical studies in medicine, which has already reached the market and was used in several studies in the field of Covid, as well as systems for managing chronic diseases that are already on the market. The company has projects in the R&D stage in the field of digital data-driven surgeries, AI in pathology, smart management of insurance risks, and more. In the past, the company has also, developed a special spoon for people who suffer from tremors and contact lenses that can diagnose blood sugar levels.

When Verily's Israeli development center was launched in 2021, there was worldwide enthusiasm for the digital medical data collected by the health funds and the Ministry of Health, information that led to significant insights into the Covid pandemic, including the effectiveness of the vaccine and the relationship between the vaccine and (rare) cases of shingles. At the time Pfizer signed an agreement to give priority to Israel in receiving vaccine doses in exchange for use of the data accumulated in Israel, and many companies had expressed interest in using Israel to test their technologies in the same way. With the launch of the development center, Verily also said that the data in Israel would be very significant for it.

However, in the years since Covid, enthusiasm for the data available in Israel has waned, because it is more dispersed and more expensive for companies wishing to use it than it first seemed. It is not clear if Verily's closure is part of this dampening of enthusiasm, or a desire to streamline ahead of a potential IPO.

Published by Globes, Israel business news - - on June 30, 2024.

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd., 2024.

Google offices Mountain View, California Photo: Shutterstock achinthamb
Google offices Mountain View, California Photo: Shutterstock achinthamb
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