[Ip-health] Google Ventures splashes into life sciences with its $425M purse - FierceBiotech

Elizabeth Rajasingh elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org
Tue Dec 16 09:00:13 PST 2014


http://www.fiercebiotech.com/story/google-ventures-splashes-life-sciences-its-425m-purse/2014-12-16

December 16, 2014 | By Damian Garde

Google Ventures <http://www.fiercebiotech.com/tags/google-ventures> is
betting more and more on life sciences startups each year, and the
well-funded financier tells *The Wall Street Journal* that's not going to
change in the new year.

In 2014, Google ($GOOG) poured more than one-third of its $425 million
venture fund into healthcare and life sciences companies, lead investor
Bill Maris told *WSJ*, up from just 9% in 2013. And, rolling into next
year, Maris expects Google Ventures to maintain roughly the same dollar
value and strategic focus.

The shift is two-pronged, Maris said. For one, Google sees an explosion of
potential in the space thanks to the rise of genomics and availability of
patient data. Separately, the traditional consumer tech world, where Google
Ventures has long been a player, is getting bubbly, with valuations
creeping out of control.

"Barring some huge calamity, we'll see more interesting things in life
sciences in 2015," Maris told *WSJ*.

Google Ventures isn't getting into specifics on its life sciences strategy,
but if the group's existing portfolio is any indication, it'll have a
genomic bent. Among Google's beneficiaries are 23andMe, Foundation Medicine
($FMI), DNAnexus and Flatiron Health, companies that sequence, analyze and
index genomic data. But the company has placed plenty of bets on more
traditional biotech outfits, as well, including antibody specialistAdimab,
large-molecule developer Rani Therapeutics and iPierian, since acquired by
Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) for up to $725 million.

Google's deeper dive into life sciences goes beyond its venture arm. Last
year, the company expanded its secretive, R&D-focused Google X unit to
include a dedicated life sciences team, spurring rumors that the tech giant
is planning to make major waves in the field of wearable health devices.

And then there's Calico, a Google-funded biotech with the vague mission of
battling aging and a star-studded staff to lead the effort. Short for
California Life Company, the startup got off the ground last year
with Genentech veterans Art Levinson and Hal Barron leading a team of
well-regarded researchers, and Calico has since inked a research deal with
AbbVie ($ABBV) to get rolling on an R&D operation that could cost up to
$1.5 billion.

----
Elizabeth Rajasingh
Perls Fellow, Knowledge Ecology International
1621 Connecticut Ave. NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20009
*elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org <elizabeth.rajasingh at keionline.org>* |
 1-202-332-2670



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