Google now wants to keep you alive to show you more advertising. . .
The next big thing in biotech is going to be anti ageing.
Last year Google announced a significant investment in anti ageing technology company Calico – it reads like this:
“On Wednesday, Calico, a Google-backed biotech company run by the former Genentech chief executive Arthur D. Levinson, said it would build a new Bay Area-based facility that will research diseases that afflict the elderly, such as neurodegeneration and cancer.
The facility, which doesn’t have a precise location just yet, is being built in partnership with AbbVie, a Chicago-area pharmaceutical company that has a research facility in Redwood City, Calif., just a few miles from Google’s Mountain View headquarters. The companies will put up equal money – $500 million at first, and up to $1.5 billion if things go well – and split any profits down the middle.
The partnership is a standard biotech deal in which, more or less, one company deals with the early phases of drug development while the other takes responsibility for testing and making whatever gets discovered. You could say that Calico will look for drugs in test tubes and, if they’re successful, AbbVie will test them out and make them in factories.
“Calico will set up a world-class research and development facility in the San Francisco Bay Area, where we will explore the basic biology of aging and develop new medicines for patients with aging-related diseases,” said Mr. Levinson, Calico’s chief executive, in a post on Google’s social network, Google Plus. “AbbVie will use its deep pharmaceutical expertise to provide scientific and clinical development support and its commercial expertise to ensure these therapies are widely available.”
The deal brings some outside validation to Calico, which was formed a year ago with Mr. Levinson as its sole employee. Google’s chief executive, Larry Page, likened Calico to Google’s other speculative projects – “moon shots,” in Google parlance.
“Don’t be surprised if we invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with our existing Internet businesses,” he wrote on his Google Plus page.
And while Google still won’t say exactly how much money it’s putting into Calico, the deal gives a more concrete view of how far the company is willing to go, at least if the Calico contribution to this joint venture comes from Google.
In an interview when Calico was announced, Mr. Levinson said the company’s early research might be done by giving money to academic scientists. Since then, Mr. Levinson has announcedseveral notable hires.
The AbbVie partnership seemingly makes it clear that Calico will be a drug discovery and development company, which is what many observers expected based on Mr. Levinson’s background in drug development.”