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As personnel moves go, the hiring of Amy Abernethy by Verily is about as big as it gets in digital health care. It signals the Alphabet-backed company’s ambition to fundamentally reshape clinical research, making participation easier and drugs more effective.

Abernethy, an oncologist by training, is credited with modernizing the way the Food and Drug Administration uses and manages data as the former number two at the agency. She essentially helped the FDA catch up, setting up standards for the use of real-world evidence and moving data in the cloud.

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