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Google Cares About your Heart

Verve Therapeutics Explodes out of Stealth Mode

I’m a futurist who among other things covers how BigTech is getting into healthcare. Essentially with this news Alphabet is funding a new way to reduce heart disease.

  • Alphabet’s Verily and GV are getting behind an ambitious new venture called Verve Therapeutics.
  • This is a gene-editing startup.

The era of biotech, genomics and AI in healthcare is quickly approaching. Google is really watching the space carefully, even as Amazon and Apple are getting more implicated in augmenting and enhancing healthcare as well. Reducing costs will be also a global focus on how technology can improve our healthcare systems.

Alphabet really likes these other bets and gene editing is really promising. So Verve Therapeutics is teaming up with Google’s long-running life science venture, Verily.

While gene therapies are so far difficult to manufacture and dangerous to administer, biopharmaceutical companies that develop them have always aimed at life-threatening rare diseases. Verve’s turning a lot of heads because it’s heading in the opposite direction!

  • It’s developing a treatment for cardiovascular disease, with an ambitious aim to “protect the world from heart attacks.”
  • The CEO of the new venture is Dr. Sek Kathiresan, a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Increasingly Google, Apple and Amazon are hiring and partnering with medical professionals to help kick-start their solutions in healthcare tech.

Heart Disease is Responsible for one in four deaths in the U.S.

The start-up biotech will begin by developing a gene therapy that should dramatically lower circulating levels of bad cholesterol for life following a single administration.

As CNBC notes, for Alphabet, Verve represents a potential path to revenue in one of its most important early-stage science projects incubated in X (formerly Google X).

Verge will primarily focus on using CRISPR and gene editing techniques to treat coronary artery and cardiovascular disease.

Verily became an independent company under the Alphabet umbrella in 2016, and last year raised $1 billion in outside capital in a funding round led by private equity firm Silver Lake.

Alphabet’s AI in Healthcare Will Evolve

Google’s AI can spot diseases like lung cancer way earlier than traditional methods used by doctors. Google is worth $600 Billion and has the kind of deep learning that can really be applied to things like medical diagnosis, patient care timelines and healthcare facility logistics. The tech can even accurately predict patient care outcomes including death.

Verve will use Verily’s re-purposed nanoparticles. In its early days, Verily was known as Google Life Sciences. One of its projects was focused on nanoparticles, tiny particles that can be used to help make drug treatments more targeted.

Verve and Verily are just beginning a long journey with unpredictable timelines. Verve has already validated the efficacy of gene-editing approaches, including CRISPR, to safely reduce cholesterol in the lab. It’s early days but what’s clear is Google cares about our heart and its life sciences R&D has a lot of promise.

As for biotech, genomics and the future of healthcare augmented with AI, it’s bright. Verve brings together two of the biggest breakthroughs in 21st-century biomedicine — human genetic analysis and gene editing — to create a promising new treatment approach for adults at risk of coronary artery disease.