Google has announced that, as part of its Alphabet reshuffle, its life sciences team will become a standalone company that will work to get new technologies from the R&D stage to clinical testing. The team does not have an official name just yet.
Past Google healthcare initiatives include a nanopill that could sniff out cancer, as well as sensor to monitor multiple sclerosis patients. Earlier this year, Google — in conjunction with pharmaceutical company Novartis — was granted a patent for a contact lens with an embedded chip that can monitor blood sugar levels in diabetes patients.
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The Alphabet rebranding is an attempt by Google to focus further into the world of healthcare, as well as other areas. Alphabet is a collection of companies, including Google (the largest), biotech company Calico, research lab Google X (which initiated the Google Glass project as well as self-driving cars, balloons that provide global Internet access, and the “Project Wing” delivery drone — also included is Baseline Study, which analyzes medical information and uses genomics to determine what makes up a healthy human body), and Life Sciences (which includes the contact lens initiative). Alphabet Inc. will replace Google Inc. as the publicly-traded entity.
The Life Sciences team will be headed by CEO Andy Conrad, previously head of life sciences at the former Google X research division. Dr. Conrad boasts an extensive nanotechnology and molecular biology background — he is former Chief Scientific Officer of Laboratory Corporation of America (LabCorp); co-founder and CSO of the National Genetics Institute; founder of the California Health and Longevity Institute; and Chief Scientific Advisor of the North Carolina Research Campus, an academic collaboration between Duke University, University of North Carolina, and North Carolina State University.