The unit of Google's parent company, which raised more than $3 billion, is cutting 15% of its w
Verily, the life sciences research unit of Google's parent company Alphabet, said on Wednesday that it is restructuring and plans to cut 15% of its workforce, which will affect about 240 people.
It is the first major layoff at Google's parent company, following a wave of layoffs at other tech companies.
Verily CEO Stephen Gillett said it would "reduce or eliminate" some of its businesses, while increasing investment in others.
Specifically, Verily will discontinue production of some of its early products, including "remote monitoring of heart failure patients and drug delivery microneedles," with the eventual goal of operating in all areas of precision medicine.
"We can't do everything and have to make some tough choices," Gillett wrote in an email. Verily's offices are scheduled to be closed Thursday and Friday local time, with employees telecommuting from home. For some time to come, Verily will offer severance and outplacement services to employees who have been laid off.
In fact, Verily was formerly known as Google Life Sciences.
In August 2015, Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page announced on his official blog that Google was reorganizing and changing its name to Alphabet.
In December of that year, Alphabet's life sciences division officially adopted "Verily" as its new name. Under the new name, Verily will focus on medical software, high-tech devices and life sciences such as clinical research.
According to its 2022 third quarter results, Alphabet's revenue was $69.092 billion, up 6% year over year; Net profit was $13.91 billion, down 26.5 percent from a year earlier.
Back in November, media reports said Google was considering cutting 10,000 jobs, or about 6 percent of its workforce, on a "last-place" basis.
In fact, it's not just Alphabet that's shedding jobs. U.S. tech companies have been shedding jobs for some time. At the beginning of this year, Amazon said it would lay off more than 18,000 employees, higher than the number the company had originally planned to cut, which would be the largest layoffs ever announced by a major tech company.
Stephen Gillett said in an email that the layoffs reflected the termination of the program and "redundancy" in the team. "We are making changes to refine our strategy, prioritize our product portfolio, and simplify our operating model," he wrote in a blog post. We will pursue fewer projects with more resources."
Some of Verily's projects include a contact lens that detects diabetes symptoms, which was discontinued in 2018, and Project Baseline. The company is discontinuing a healthcare software project called Verily Value Suite and work around several earlier products.
In the capital markets, Verily is a veritable unicorn.
According to incomplete statistics, since the establishment of Verily accumulated more than 3 billion dollars of financing, behind no lack of Temasek, Silver Lake Capital and other well-known institutions.
In 2017, Verily raised $800 million in external capital from Singapore's Temasek. In 2019, Silver Lake led Verily in a round that raised $1 billion. Temasek and Silver Lake are betting on Verily again in 2020.
In September 2022, Verily raised a new $1 billion funding round, again led by Alphabet, to support the expansion of Verily's health business, including medical data platform, research and care, and underlying technology. Verily will also consider further investments in strategic partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions.
Verily has the resources not only to be backed by Google, but also to work with some of the world's most famous companies, such as GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and other heavyweight organizations, which will help Verily navigate the healthcare, drug and insurance processes.
Verily is no slouch when it comes to outbound investments, either.
Verily's healthcare investments are focused on startup biotech companies focused on oncology, cancer, and Parkinson's. Over the past five years, Verily has invested nearly $500 million in financing projects with nearly 10 healthcare companies, including a single investment of up to $165 million to Health insurance unicorn Oscar Health, which is competing in the health insurance market.
Currently, Verily has more than 1,600 employees. Alphabet and Verily declined to comment further on the layoffs.
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