Roughly one year after tendering a founding investment in biotech company Calico, Google is breaking ground on a brand new Bay Area research facility with a lofty life-prolonging aim.
To this end, Calico has also forged a partnership with a Chicago-based biopharmaceutical company called AbbVie, in order to develop drugs that will tackle aging and age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. A forthcoming state-of-the-art research and development center will house this secretive and vastly experimental work.
Each company will contribute between $250 million and $1.5 billion in funding, according to a press release. The affiliation will call for Google-backed Calico’s far-out findings, spearheaded over the next five years, to be eventually tested for commercial viability by AbbVie. “Both parties will share costs and profits equally,” the companies said.
“Last fall, [Google co-founder] Larry Page and I announced Calico, a new company designed to take the long-term view on aging and illness,” wrote Calico chief executive Arthur Levinson in a Google+ post announcing the collaboration yesterday. “Our goal is to make progress on a very basic challenge: how to help people stay healthier for longer.”
Levinson, who also serves as Apple's chairman of the board, created Calico alongside Google’s Page, who notably suffers from a rare nerve condition that affects his ability to speak.
Calico is by no means Google’s only stab into the health-care sector. Despite expressing reservations in regards to entering the heavily regulated space, the company has begun collecting anonymous genetic information from 175 volunteers in order to build a perfect model of human health. The Baseline Study, as the project is called, is part of the company’s “moonshot” division, Google X.