Sean Parker, the tech billionaire and cancer research philanthropist, may be a product of a Silicon Valley tech giant — but he’s skeptical about the impact those companies will have as they increasingly make a play in medicine.

“I just don’t think the innovations that are going to drive this revolution in health care and discovery are going to come out of Amazon or Google,” Parker said Tuesday at an event put on by the Washington Post. “Google has a big group that’s focused on this — they’re really smart, they’re not unsophisticated, they’re not naive — but I don’t think that’s where you’re going to see the big breakthroughs happening.”

Silicon Valley’s tech giants have invested significant resources in health care and science in recent years — and attracted big-name talent.

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Amazon, along with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway, has launched a new health care company aimed at developing solutions that could be implemented elsewhere in the U.S. health care system.

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Alphabet, Google’s parent company, has been scooping up some of the biggest names in health care. Google just hired David Feinberg, the forward-thinking CEO of the Geisinger health system, the Pennsylvania health plan and hospital system confirmed last week. Dr. Toby Cosgrove, the longtime president and CEO of Cleveland Clinic, joined Google earlier this year. And Dr. Robert Califf, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, last year joined Verily, Alphabet’s unit working on solutions to disease.

While coders face their own formidable challenges, Parker said, “tech people coming from tech to biology so dramatically underestimate the complexity of the human body. It’s not designed by us. It doesn’t work in ways that make sense.”

Parker, the former president of Facebook, has since become a major funder of research into therapies that seek to fight cancer by harnessing the patient’s own immune system through his foundation Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, which he founded in 2016. It has funded prominent research scientists across the country, most notably James Allison, one of the recipients of this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine.

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  • What these tech ghouls have already done is pretty dark and disturbing, and is leading to even worse health outcomes. They have been harvesting health related data for years, and put it to use marketing and peddling propaganda to protect the profiteers. Companies that bought this data advertise their services, manipulating customer opinions on social media. They track every interaction, and remove negative mentions of health products. They are Gas Lighting us all. The device industry is particularly deceptive, preying on vulnerable patients and getting around FTC disclosure laws. They have already undermined and exploited our healthcare industry. These ghoulish profiteers are criminals, and these companies need to be broken up and prosecuted. To bad our government failed to protect patients, the American public and our broken system from these parasites.
    This is all a lot darker than we imagine.

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