Google's Calico health project to open $1.5 billion research center

Remember Calico Labs? Well it just kicked off a new effort that'll hopefully one day help fight diseases like cancer.

Google gave birth to a new company/project last autumn called Calico, and it's purpose is to do moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology. More specifically, Google wants Calico to tackle the challenge of (and find treatments for) aging and associated diseases. Arthur D. Levinson, a chariman at Apple, serves as Calico's founding investor and CEO, and now he has approved the creation of a leading R&D facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The new research center, which is a collaboration between Calico and another company called AbbVie, will focus on developing therapies for aging and age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer. Both Calico and AbbVie will co-invest up to $1.5 billion into the facility. Calico will also work on drug discovery and early drug development, while AbbVie will provide scientific and clinical development support as well as commercial expertise.

“Our relationship with AbbVie is a pivotal event for Calico, whose mission is to develop life-enhancing therapies for people with age-related diseases. It will greatly accelerate our efforts to understand the science of aging, advance our clinical work, and help bring important therapies to patients everywhere,” said Art Levinson, CEO and founder of Calico, in a press release published on 3 September.

For now, each partner has committed to providing $250 million in funding with the option to each provide another $500 million to the project. It also appears like Calico has the research center's first 15 years mapped out already, with Calico announcing it will work on research and early development for five years and then it'll advance collaboration projects for a 10-year period.

Calico also expects to begin hiring for "critical positions immediately", with plans to establish a team of scientists and a research staff in the Bay Area.