Google Prepares to Tackle Cancer and Alzheimer’s

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

After its launch as part of Google’s ambitious long-term project to “cure death,” Calico has made its first concrete announcement that could give consumers some insight into specifically what diseases it plans to tackle with the support of Google’s technical prowess.

Google-backed life sciences company Calico has announced that it is collaborating with biopharmaceutical firm AbbVie to create a Bay Area research and development facility focused on aging and age-related diseases, like neurodegeneration and cancer. Calico, or California Life Company, is a Google-backed company led by Arthur D. Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, and Hal V. Barron, former chief medical officer of Genentech. AbbVie is a research firm that separated from Abbott Laboratories in 2013 and is headed by Richard A. Gonzalez, an Abbott veteran of 30 years.

Levinson refers to the collaboration with AbbVie as a “pivotal event” for Calico, and says that the relationship will “accelerate our efforts to understand the science of aging, advance our clinical work, and help bring important therapies to patients everywhere.” The press release notes that the collaboration will see the companies combining their “complementary strengths” to accelerate the development of new forms of therapy for age-related diseases.

“Calico will use its scientific expertise to establish a world-class research and development facility, with a focus on drug discovery and early drug development; and AbbVie will provide scientific and clinical development support and its commercial expertise to bring new discoveries to market.”

The companies say that Calico will take the lead in research and early development during the first five years of the collaboration, and AbbVie will presumably take the lead in the later stages of drug development — “for a ten-year period” — including clinical trials and taking a drug or drugs to market. The Wall Street Journal reports that Calico will oversee the “early stages” of human clinical trials, while AbbVie will help Calico to identify and conduct early stage research, and can manage later stages of development and marketing of drugs that complete early stages of trials.