By Richard Nievo
Calico, the life sciences company funded by Google, on Wednesday announced a partnership with the biopharmaceutical firm AbbVie to pour up to $1.5 billion into a research facility focused on fighting age-related diseases.
The center will be based in the San Francisco Bay Area and address things like neurodegeneration and cancer. Each company will at first invest up to $250 million, and can contribute another $500 million each depending on the progress of the project. Both companies will share costs and profits equally.
The two companies will team up to create new drugs and therapies. Calico’s role will be to oversee the early development of drugs and guide them through the approval process with the US Food and Drug Administration.
AbbVie will also provide scientific and clinical support, and will use its commercial know-how to make sure new drugs are “widely available,” wrote Calico CEO Arthur Levinson, in a Google+ post. Levinson is the former CEO of biotech company Genentech and current chairman of Apple.
Calico, short for California Life Company, launched last year and is considered one of Google’s many “moon shots” — out-there projects that seek to push the bounds of technology. Other initiatives in that realm include driverless cars and Wi-Fi-beaming balloons. Calico’s overarching mission is to “help people stay healthier for longer,” said Levinson.
AbbVie was also founded last year after spinning out of the pharmaceutical firm Abbott Laboratories. It markets drugs worldwide in 170 countries.