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Alphabet Inc.'s VC Arm adds Senior Healthcare Partner

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Alaphabet Inc.’s venture-capital arm adds a new ‘senior healthcare partner’ with experience in guiding biotechnology companies, as the firm makes a stronger push to launch and invest in healthcare start-ups.

Last month Google Ventures (GV), hired Cathy Friedman, a former biotech investment banker, as an executive venture partner tasked with advising healthcare start-ups and helping them build their businesses. Furthermore the banker joins biotech executive Dan Lynch, hired for the same role earlier in 2021. GV also recently hired Scott Biller, a member of the board of GV portfolio company Rome Therapeutics Inc., as a part-time executive venture partner.

Mountain View, Calif.-based GV was formed in 2009 and has invested in technology and healthcare from the beginning. The firm, which has 32 people on its investment team in total, has been growing its healthcare practice, expanding that investment group to 17 from seven over the last three years.

GV has hired professionals to help incubate and back biomedical start-ups in the early stages, a strategy that has become more common in biotech venture capital in recent years as firms look to support the most promising new science.

Corporate venture arms usually invest in areas of interest to the company. GV has an $8 billion fund from Alphabet under management, which is not a strategic investor and is free to support Alphabet competitors, which invests in technology and healthcare from a pool of capital, has received allocations from Alphabet, but has not publicly.

According to the firm GV has invested third of its dollars in healthcare since its formation.

GV together with OrbiMed Advisors and ARCH Venture Partners led a Series A financing in the newly formed Treeline Biosciences Inc., a biotech company that pursues to discover cancer treatments using biological, chemistry and computational techniques

Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, CEO, Verve Therapeutics says, “they were really attracted to the big idea we proposed. They want to see the idea go over time.”

GV-backed healthcare companies include cancer blood testing firm Grail Inc., which was acquired by Illumina Inc. last year and primary care services company 1Life Healthcare Inc., known as One Medical, went public in 2020; and Flatiron Health, an oncology-data platform startup acquired by Roche Holding AG in 2018.

In April last year, GV together with OrbiMed Advisors and ARCH Venture Partners led a Series A financing in the newly formed Treeline Biosciences Inc., a biotech company that pursues to discover cancer treatments using biological, chemistry and computational techniques.

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