Apple’s Health Team just lost one of its members. Stephen Friend has exited after just over a year at the company, according to people familiar with the matter.
While the details surrounding Friend’s departure are scarce, CNBC reported that the researcher left Apple at the end of 2017.
Friend joined Apple in 2016. He is said to be a central figure in the development of Apple’s HealthKit, ResearchKit, and CareKit frameworks. Friend’s expertise in security, privacy, and consent standards put him in a good position to contribute to ResearchKit, the company’s health data collection platform for research institutions.
Before joining Apple’s Health Team, Friend was a medical technology advisor for the company. He was the President of Sage Bionetworks, a Seattle-based non-profit focused on furthering open science and standards for patients that he co-founded in 2009 as a spinoff of Merck. Friend is also a cancer researcher and served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School.
Friend declined to comment on whether his idea of collecting volunteer health data on a massive scale was the basis of ResearchKit, but he did admit to making frequent trips to Cupertino and other cities to work on the program. When asked why he opted to work with Apple rather than other tech firms working on similar projects, Friend said it was Apple’s dedication to data privacy that swayed his decision.
According to his LinkedIn account, Stephen Friend is now an “independent entrepreneur.”