Verily, an Alphabet company (formerly under the Google X umbrella) has announced the appointment of Amy Abernethy as president of its clinical research business. Abernethy had served as principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs with the US Food and Drug Administration, and as acting chief information officer, but left the agency in April.
Verily launched its clinical research activity with Baseline, a suite of studies that employ a range of patient-centric tools for collecting research data. According to the company, Abernethy’s appointment heralds Verily’s anticipated expansion into a full-scale evidence generation program to support a range of trials and real-world evidence (RWE) studies, which Abernethy will oversee.
In her years with the FDA, Abernethy was credited with catalyzing a number of changes in how the agency uses patient data, and with advancing its work in RWE and personalized medicine. She also reportedly spearheaded the agency’s shift toward cloud-based data interoperability to streamline interaction with the health-data ecosystem, keeping with outlined technology and data modernization strategies.
Verily CEO and founder Andy Conrad said considering her experience, Abernethy is a good fit for the position and organization.
“There is no one better positioned to catapult Verily's clinical research business into its next important phase than Amy, with her understanding of clinical practice, research, data science, and the evolving regulatory environment," Conrad said. “Amy has been at the forefront of the use of clinical data to accelerate clinical trials and enable the uptake of RWE; her focus on improving the efficiency of the development and availability of new medicines aligns with our goals to transform clinical research by making it easier and faster to run clinical studies.”
"The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of improving the clinical trials process, breaking down barriers to participation, and speeding access to medicines," said Abernethy. "Verily is committed to accelerating and improving clinical research through the smart use of data, creative collaboration, and unrivaled technical capabilities. Combined with their healthcare and device initiatives, Verily presents an unparalleled opportunity to improve patient care, which has been my driving force in every role I have played in the healthcare ecosystem."
Before her tenure at the FDA, Abernethy worked at Flatiron Health (a healthcare technology and services company focused on accelerating cancer research and improving patient care). Prior to joining that firm, she held positions at Duke University School of Medicine, directing the Center for Learning Health Care in the Duke Clinical Research Institute, as well as the Duke Cancer Care Research Program in the Duke Cancer Institute.
Launched in 2015, Verily is centered on life sciences and healthcare. The company develops tools and devices to collect, organize and activate health data, and creates interventions to prevent and manage disease; it partners with life sciences, medical device, and government organizations, using hardware, software, scientific, and healthcare expertise to enable faster development, meaningful advances, and deployment.