Verily lays off 15% of workforce

Google’s (NSDQ:GOOGL) Verily announced this week that, as part of a refined strategy, it eliminated 15% of its workforce.

Verily has more than 1,600 employees, so the layoff would be more than 200 workers, according to media sites.

On Jan. 11, CEO Stephen Gillett issued a letter to all Verily employees. Gillett took over the corner office this month after the company announced his promotion in September.

In the letter, titled “One Verily Forward,” Gillett laid out a refined strategy, prioritized portfolio and simplified operating model. That included a workforce reduction.

“I have promised you all transparency in what we’re doing, and this means we have eliminated approximately 15 percent of Verily roles due to discontinued programs, full control of Granular and Onduo, and redundancy in the new, centralized organization,” wrote Gillett. “Our most immediate priority is ensuring that these [Verily employees] are given t…

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Verily receives $1B investment led by Alphabet, promotes president to corner office

Google’s (NSDQ:GOOGL) Verily announced today that it received a $1 billion investment led by parent company Alphabet.

South San Francisco, California-based Verily plans to use the funds to expand its businesses focused on precision health. New capital will go toward a variety of its core initiatives.

Those include real-world evidence generation, healthcare data, research and care and the underlying technology, Verily said. The company will also consider further investment in strategic partnerships, global business development and potential acquisitions.

During a recent DeviceTalks Weekly podcast, investor and advisor Steve Oesterle, formerly of Medtronic, said he was still all in on Google and Verily. Technology is the only logical way to deliver healthcare to a massive, fast-growing population, he said. “Whoever has the most data and knows how to aggregate it and analyze it is going to win in healthcare.”

Leadership changes at Verily

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Verily’s Onduo, Sword Health collaborate on virtual care

Onduo announced today that it entered into a strategic collaboration with Sword Health to broaden virtual care for diabetes and other conditions.

Sword Health, a digital musculoskeletal (MSK) care provider, will work with Onduo by Verily, an Alphabet precision health company, to offer complementary solutions, broadening access to virtual care benefits for chronic conditions such as type 2 diabetes, hypertension and mental health.

Get the full story at our sister site, Drug Delivery Business News.

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How the cloud tools behind Google Maps and Photos can advance medtech

Alissa Hsu Lynch is Google Cloud’s global lead for medtech strategy and solutions. [Photo courtesy of Google]Alissa Hsu Lynch leads medtech strategy and solutions at Google Cloud, previously serving in executive roles at Johnson & Johnson and Bausch Health.

As part of Medical Design & Outsourcing‘s ongoing series of conversations about the cloud’s contributions to the medical device industry and its future, Lynch offered her perspective from the Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) subsidiary’s cloud-computing business. The following exchange has been edited for clarity and length.

Get the full story at Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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iRhythm plans silent AFib screening pilots, high-level hires and Zio Watch evaluations

Verily’s Study Watch will serve as iRhythm’s Zio Watch. [Photo courtesy of Verily]iRhythm Technologies (NSDQ:IRTC) has big plans for 2022 and its remote external electrocardiogram monitors as the medical device developer gears up for growth.

President and CEO Quentin Blackford is looking to hire an international general manager among other roles in the coming months, he told Medical Design & Outsourcing after presenting at this month’s 2022 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference, where he laid out his vision for profitably scaling the company.

Blackford also previewed plans to roll out asymptomatic atrial fibrillation (AFib) screening pilots with payors in 2022. Screening for “silent” AFib can detect problems before an event like a stroke or heart failure, giving doctors more time for treatment at a lower cost.

Get the full story at our sister site, Medical Design & Outsourcing.

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Google, Varian partner on AI to boost cancer radiation therapy

Varian (NYSE: VAR) announced today that it is working with Google Cloud to build an AI-based diagnostic platform.

The companies’ focus is on AI models for organ segmentation—a crucial, labor-intensive step in radiation oncology that can often turn into a clinical workflow bottleneck. Organ segmentation can take hours per patient. It involves identifying the organs and tissues in diagnostic images that must be targeted or protected during radiation therapy.

Varian is using Google Cloud AI Platform’s Neural Architecture Search (NAS) technology to create an AI segmentation engine that it’s training — using Varian’s proprietary treatment planning image data — to create customized auto-segmentation models for organs in the body. Varian plans to incorporate the new models into its treatment planning software tools in cancer centers worldwide.

“At Varian, we are working towards a world without fear of cancer, where high-quality can…

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Google opening office near Mayo Clinic

Google announced today that it will open an office in downtown Rochester, Minn., to be close to Mayo Clinic.

The tech giant plans to have an office up and running with a handful of workers as soon as possible, given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release posted on the website of the 20-year Destination Medical Center project. Under the DMC, $585 million in state and local government infrastructure funds are expected to leverage about $5 billion of private investment in Rochester, which is about an hour and a half drive south of Minneapolis.

Google will occupy space at Collider Coworking in the historic Conley-Maass-Downs building in downtown Rochester. The news comes nearly a year and a half after Google and Mayo Clinic announced a 10-year partnership to use advanced cloud computing, data analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to improve healthcare delivery.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has illustrated the importance o…

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Hologic and Google Cloud team up on digital diagnostics for cervical cancer

Hologic (NSDQ:HOLX) has entered into a multi-year deal to use Google Cloud’s machine learning and deep learning technologies with its Genius digital diagnostics system, a cytology platform that uses volumetric imaging data to identify precancerous lesions and cancer cells of the cervix.

The machine learning and deep learning capabilities from Google Cloud will enable Hologic to build on its more than three decades of experience in cervical cancer screening, according to Kevin Thornal, president of Hologic’s Diagnostic Solutions division. “Enhancing our use of AI with Google Cloud’s machine learning capabilities and cloud architecture is the next natural step in this journey forward,” he said in a statement.

Genius Digital Diagnostics is CE-marked for use in Europe. It is not yet available in the U.S.

The FDA is currently overhauling how it regulates machine learning-based software for medical device applications.

In related news, Hologic recently …

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Philips, Google, ResMed among companies joining digital therapeutics standards initiative

Major companies in the medtech space — including Philips, Google and ResMed — are among those joining the Consumer Technology Association’s new digital therapeutics standards initiative.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic, we are seeing faster innovation across all aspects of digital health including digital therapeutics,” said Gary Shapiro, CEO of the CTA.

“This field takes the application of technology beyond just wellness tracking. Companies are now developing solutions that can manage pain, allergies and even address mental health problems. As more people take control of their own health in the comfort and safety of their homes, we must understand what this technology means and how to advance its adoption,” Shapiro said in a news release posted yesterday.

Companies in the initiative include:

Activbody Akili Amalgam Rx Amptify AudioCardio Awarables Bose CareWear Doctor on Demand Ginger GlucoseZone by Fitscript Google Health HP Livongo MagicLeap Mi…
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Why FDA put the pedal to the metal for radar and hummingbirds and why medtech needs Google

In this week’s episode of DeviceTalks Weekly, co-hosts Chris Newmarker and Tom Salemi dig into the recent successes by startups Circadia Health and Preceptis Medical, which both saw expedited approval from the FDA due to the pandemic.

Circadia Health earned a spot on this year’s “20 medical device startups you need to know” list.

Circadia CEO Fares Siddiqui discusses the quick approval that came for his company’s C100 system that uses radar to monitor respiratory function.

Preceptis Medical CEO Steve Anderson, meanwhile, explains why the agency – and he hopes payers – want to see his company’s ear-tube implanting system on the market.

We also visit with Heidi Dohse, senior program manager at Google’s Cloud Healthcare & Life Sciences organization, who will be leading the upcoming DeviceTalks Tuesday’s discussion about how medtech devices can use data to better serve its sickest patients.

Register for the free discussion…

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CEO Ryan explains how Cala Health is building bioelectronic medicine business

In this week’s episode of DeviceTalks Weekly, Tom Salemi, editorial director of DeviceTalks events and content, visits with Renee Ryan, the CEO of neuromodulation startup Cala Health.

Ryan came to Cala from the venerable medtech investor Johnson & Johnson Development Corp., where she made over 15 investments helping to create companies including Auris Surgical, Cala and digital surgery play Verb Surgical, J&J’s joint venture with Verily. “I really set my mind to [asking] was there a way we could create our own opportunities,” she said of her eight years as the corporate investor.

We ask Ryan about her move into medtech investing from investment banking as well as the  “secret power” that helped her succeed as an investor and an executive.

We’ll also discuss the unique commercial strategy Cala is employing as it begins rolling out its Cala Trio, a bioelectronic device developed to treat essential tremor.


What role will tech comp…
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Study: PPE shortages persist nationwide

(Image from GetUsPPE)

Shortages of personal protective equipment continue to plague hospitals and healthcare facilities across the United States, according to a study published this week in The Lancet.

The study reports on data collected by GetUsPPE, a volunteer organization connecting healthcare providers with supplies of PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic and was authored by academics and volunteers from Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital, Alpert Medical School at Brown University, Google and Pymetrics.

Most of the 6,169 hospitals, healthcare and other facilities — including nursing homes — that made PPE requests through GetUsPPE asked for N95 respirators (74%), surgical masks (64%), gowns (61%), and face shields (60%), according to the study. High COVID-19 infection and death rates have been reported at nursing homes across the country.

Metropolitan areas comprised 5,416 (8…

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