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Alphabet's Healthcare Unit Just Completed a $1B Fundraising Round
Financial Services, Healthtech
The funding will be used on “investments in strategic partnerships, global business development opportunities, and potential acquisitions,” the company said in a press release. Verily has thus far focused primarily on research, as Business Insider notes, but its new funding could further its “ongoing pivot toward commercializing health products,” an important step since rivals like Amazon and Apple both already market products to hospitals.
In November, Amazon launched a a new machine learning service called Amazon Comprehend Medical, which can extract relevant medical details – including patient diagnoses, medication and dosage, symptoms and signs – from unstructured text, such as doctors’ notes, pathology and radiology reports, prescriptions and audio interview transcripts. The service is currently being previewed by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Amazon’s hometown of Seattle, as well as by the Switzerland-based Roche Diagnostics.
Meanwhile, Business Insider points out what Verily’s funding round could signal for healthtech’s bigger picture in 2019:
Verily’s financing also suggests 2019 could be another landmark year for digital health funding. Digital health smashed previous record funding levels with ease in 2018, due in part to big tech’s active role in the sector.
The top 10 US tech companies by market cap participated in 27 healthcare startup funding rounds in 2018 through Q3, for example. If Verily’s early participation in the funding market is echoed by other US tech giants in 2019, funding will likely continue at current torrid pace.
“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.”
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