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Alphabet's Verily joins Pfizer, other pharma giants on clinical research

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Alphabet's Verily joins Pfizer, other pharma giants on clinical research

Verily Life Sciences LLC has teamed up with Switzerland's Novartis AG, New York's Pfizer Inc., France's Sanofi and Japan's Otsuka Holdings Co. Ltd. to apply digital technology to clinical research programs in an effort to make them more patient-centered.

Verily, the life sciences arm of Google LLC parent Alphabet Inc., launched Project Baseline in 2017, a platform designed to bring together data and tools from across the healthcare system to make for a more interconnected approach to clinical research.

The platform, which is based on evidence generation, includes devices for both patients and researchers; enrollment and study management solutions; data collection infrastructure; and patient engagement tools with connections to advocacy, as well as clinical research and practice.

With Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi and Otsuka, Verily plans to increase the number of people participating in clinical trials by making the process more streamlined. The pharmaceutical companies, in turn, plan to launch clinical studies using the platform in areas such as cardiovascular disease, oncology, mental health, dermatology and diabetes.

The financial terms of the partnerships were not disclosed by any party in a May 21 press release.

"Evidence generation through research is the backbone of improving health outcomes," Verily Chief Medical and Scientific Officer Jessica Mega said in a statement. "We need to be inclusive and encourage diversity in research to truly understand health and disease, and to provide meaningful insights about new medicines, medical devices and digital health solutions."

Pfizer Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President Rod MacKenzie explained the need for innovation in clinical trials.

"The science behind our potential new medicines is cutting edge, yet many clinical trial processes have remained relatively unchanged over decades," MacKenzie said. "To bring scientific breakthroughs to patients more quickly and increase the diversity of the patient population in our clinical trials, Pfizer is committed to exploring new technologies and innovative ways to conduct clinical research, and we are proud to partner with Verily in that effort."

In the beginning of the year, Verily raised $1 billion to boost its life sciences portfolio, part of which it planned to use to invest in strategic partnerships.

The traditional healthcare industry is experiencing a technological revolution of sorts as startups have begun to flood the market with digital platforms and devices designed to enhance the patient experience and aid in data collection.