Over the past couple of years, Google has hired experts in diseases and physiology, pairing them with top software engineers, to tackle major healthcare issues.
Projects include developing contact lenses to allow diabetics to constantly monitor glucose levels, defining "healthy" traits and testing disease-detection pills capable of communicating to a special wristband.
None of that is a part of Google anymore but there is still a connection. The 150-employee Life Sciences team is becoming its own company within Alphabet, a corporation Google recently formed to organize its array of offbeat ventures. Life Sciences becomes a sister company to Google, which includes the search engine, Gmail, Maps, Android and other familiar offerings. An official corporate name is coming soon, a Google spokeswoman said.
Changing the reporting structure could give Life Sciences more autonomy while providing Alphabet, nee Google, executives a clearer picture of the division's spending. Google's new Chief Financial Officer Ruth Porat counts Life Sciences as a forthcoming source of significant long-term revenue.
The group's goal won't change, said Google co-founder and Alphabet President Sergey Brin in an online post Thursday.
“They’ll continue to work with other life sciences companies to move new technologies from early stage R&D to clinical testing—and, hopefully—transform the way we detect, prevent and manage disease,” he wrote.
One partner, Dexcom Inc., announced earlier this month that it will make and sell miniature glucose monitors based on Google technology. Life Sciences collects an upfront fee, additional payments throughout the development and then revenue-based royalties after a certain sales level, Dexcom said.
Andy Conrad, a co-founder of the National Genetics Institute who had been leading Life Sciences, becomes the new company’s chief executive. Life Sciences will be separate from Calico, an Alphabet division working to counteract aging.