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Alphabet Unit Verily to Trim More Than 200 Jobs

CEO of healthcare unit announced the layoffs as part of a broader reorganization

Verily Life Sciences, a healthcare unit of Alphabet Inc., is laying off more than 200 employees as part of a broader reorganization, the first major staff reductions to hit Google’s parent following a wave of layoffs at other technology companies.

The cuts will affect about 15% of roles at Verily, which will discontinue work on a medical software program called Verily Value Suite and several early-stage products, CEO Stephen Gillett said in an email to employees Wednesday. Verily has more than 1,600 employees.

Verily oversees a portfolio of healthcare projects largely focused on applying data and technology to patient treatments, including a virtual diabetes clinic and an online program for connecting research participants to clinical studies. 

“We are making changes that refine our strategy, prioritize our product portfolio and simplify our operating model,” Mr. Gillett wrote in the email. “We will advance fewer initiatives with greater resources.”

Originally known as Google Life Sciences, Verily is one of the largest businesses other than Google under the Alphabet umbrella, part of a group of companies known as “Other Bets.” Alphabet had 186,779 employees at the end of September last year, according to company filings.

Verily has recently looked to pare back a once sprawling collection of projects spanning insurance to mosquito breeding. Last year, the company hired McKinsey & Co. and Innosight to do consulting work, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Mr. Gillett took over as Verily CEO this month, succeeding the well-known geneticist Andy Conrad,
who moved to executive chairman.

“As we move into Verily’s next chapter, we are doubling down on our purpose, with the goal to ultimately be operating in all areas of precision health,” Mr. Gillett wrote to employees on Wednesday. “We will do this by building the data and evidence backbone that closes the gap between research and care.”