Alphabet’s smart contact lens company Verily raises $1bn

Alphabet's smart contact lens company Verily raises $1bn

Alphabet’s failed smart contact lens company, Verily, has been handed $1billion (£791m) to grow its business.

The funding round was led by Silver Lake, an investment company which has backed Alibaba Group, Dell, Tesla, and gene company Ancestry.

Silver Lake managing director Egon Durban will sit on Verily’s board along with the chief financial officer of Alphabet, Ruth Porat. Silver Lake’s stake was not disclosed. 

Verily chief Andrew Conrad said that the company, which graduated from Alphabet’s X project in 2015, was taking outsider’s cash “to increase flexibility and optionality as we expand on our core strategic focus areas”.

It did not say what the money would go toward.

Formerly known as Google Life Sciences, Verily recently announced it would be halting its glucose monitoring contact lens project because it was proving difficult to gather accurate results due to human tears.

It has encountered obstacles with its clinical smartwatch too. The screen proved difficult for older patients to use because they struggled to adapt to touchscreens and patient’s skin was too crepey for the screen to pick up their touch. 

In 2018 a pilot with NHS England in which anonymised patient data was analysed to try and predict chronic conditions was shut down. 

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