Has Google just invested €1.4bn in its Irish life sciences division Verily?

16 Jan 2017

Verily, a spin-out from the Google X division, is the life sciences subsidiary of Google parent company Alphabet. Image: isak55/Shutterstock

Google has reportedly invested €1.4bn into the Irish subsidiary of its Verily life sciences division.

The Sunday Times reported at the weekend that Google’s parent company Alphabet has invested €1.4bn into the Irish subsidiary of its life sciences division, as it looks to move more operations to Ireland.

Verily is understood to be planning to establish operations in Ireland to facilitate collaboration with EU-based partners.

The report cited documents from Google Ireland Holdings that it paid cash for ordinary shares in the business on 21 December 2016.

V for Verily

Previously a branch of the Google X experimental division, Verily became an independent subsidiary of Alphabet in 2015.

Verily is focused on using technology to better understand health and manage disease.

Among the various technologies being created by Verily are contact lenses that allow diabetes patients to check their glucose levels continually, a spoon for people with tremors, a disease-detecting nano-particle platform and advancements in surgical robotics.

The news comes on the heels of recent reports suggesting that Google may also be planning an Irish expansion.

Google is reportedly in talks to rent the Irish Life Investment Managers-owned Velasco building, a 51,000 sq ft building on Grand Canal in Dublin, which is still under construction.

The move will see Google add 400 new jobs in Dublin, where it already employs more than 6,000 people.

Google employs 3,000 direct employees and 3,000 full-time contractors in Dublin and has offices on both sides of Barrow Street, including Dublin’s tallest building, the Montevetro building, and offices in EastPoint. It also has two data centres in west Dublin.

In recent months, Fionnuala Meehan was named Google’s new country manager, as Harris took up the role of head of UK and Ireland.

Harris previously described Dublin as the “data capital of Europe”.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years