Alphabet continues expansion into health tech with flu vaccine investment
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Alphabet continues expansion into health tech with flu vaccine investment

Tech titan Alphabet, parent of Google, has long had an interest in the healthcare sector. This was in evidence even before it was Alphabet, when Google (formerly the whole company, now just its biggest and most profitable segment) had a portfolio of businesses like Calico Life Sciences under its control. Alphabet is slightly less wild than Google though – where the latter company might be considered a “mad scientist”, its parent is more responsible, more transparent, more accountable. That doesn’t mean it has different priorities, though, as a recent investment into pioneering work to develop a “universal flu vaccine” has demonstrated.

Alphabet’s share price is already up 8% this year!

graph 0118 alphabet

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Vaccitech, the company on the receiving end of Alphabet’s interest, began its life at Oxford University before breaking out on its own. It’s in the first stages of a two-year trial and study aimed at developing a universal flu vaccine, amongst other things. After raising £20 million in funding, the company has pledged to use it to expand the core elements of its business: researching vaccines, cancer treatments, and three other programs.

The company’s chief executive, Tom Evans, highlighted the important nature of Vaccitech’s work – no doubt a draw for Alphabet, which has long sought to “fix” healthcare. He said:

When you look at the 250 million people chronically infected with hepatitis B globally, or the number of people killed by the flu each year, it becomes clear just how much potential impact Vaccitech’s portfolio of vaccine products could have on the world.

You add Oxford into the mix, where you have unprecedented ability to do advance products through outstanding vaccine science and tremendous translational medicine capability, and Vaccitech is clearly well positioned to have an important impact on global health.

Disclosure

Dominion holds Alphabet in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.


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