Google gave birth to a new company today focused on "health and well-being" - and it's called Calico.
The new company plans to specifically tackle the challenge of aging and associated diseases, with Arthur D. Levinson at the helm as chief executive officer and a founding investor. He's the chairman and former CEO of Genentech and chairman of Apple. Levinson said in a release statement that he had devoted much of his life to science, technology and improving human health, and is "tremendously excited about what’s next”.
As for what Apple has to say about its chairman leading a Google company, Tim Cook, chief executive officer of Apple, issued a release statement: "For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results.” Interesting, right?
Google's own chief executive officer, Larry Page, also commented, describing the Calico venture as "moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology". He also called Levinson "one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation". It's unclear what exactly Calico plans to do, though Page suggested to TIME magazine that the company is thinking about things more crucial than cancer.
"Are people really focused on the right things?" he said. "One of the things I thought was amazing is that if you solve cancer, you'd add about three years to people's average life expectancy. We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that'll totally change the world. But when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it's very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it's not as big an advance as you might think."
Needless to say, Calico is an unusual collaboration for Google and Apple, which have both fought and competed vigorously in the mobile space in recent years.