Google’s biotech subsidiary pulls out of Israel

Written By Mark

Google’s health and data company Verily has closed its operations in Israel three years after opening a research and development center in the country, and Verily employees are expected to leave Israel by the third quarter of 2024.

The company stated that the reason behind the closure was an attempt to refocus its strategy on core products and projects, according to what was reported in The Guardian newspaper.

“As part of our ongoing review of business needs, Verily has made the difficult decision to begin the process of closing our R&D center in Israel, located in Haifa and Tel Aviv,” a Verily spokesperson said. “This decision is consistent with our strategy to simplify our company’s operations overall.”

The spokesman added, “Israel’s war on Gaza did not play any role in our decision.”

Founded in 2015, Verily has become an influential player in health tech, raising at least $3.5 billion in total funding as of last year. It has been working on a plan in recent years to spin off from Alphabet and potentially seek an initial public offering as a standalone company.

The company opened its R&D center in Israel in 2021, announcing that it would partner with hospitals and healthcare organizations in the country. When asked if employees at the center would lose their jobs, a company spokesperson said the current team in Israel “is expected to leave the company by the end of the third quarter of 2024.”

“The Fairly Israel team has led significant innovations and developments in the past several years, with a particular focus on applying AI techniques to biomedical problems, and we plan to continue this critical work at our U.S. locations,” the company spokesperson said.

Fairly had been following a cost-cutting plan for more than a year that included rounds of layoffs after it failed to meet revenue expectations in 2023, and Alphabet made broader cuts, terminating the services of 12,000 employees in 2023, and another 1,000 last January.