Google Advances Aging Tech Plans with $1.5 Billion Research Partnership

Calico, a life sciences company supported by Google, is making headway on plans to begin developing aging-related health care technologies, the first step of which includes building a $1.5 billion research center in California.

The Google-backed company, which launched in September 2013, recently announced a research and development collaboration with AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a global biopharmaceutical company formed last year following its spin-off from the North Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories.

Together, the collaboration is intended to help both companies discover, develop and bring to market new therapies for patients with age-related diseases. To do so, the agreement paves the way for Calico to establish what it calls a “world-class” research and development facility in the San Francisco Bay Area.

While AbbVie and Calcio may co-invest up to $1.5 billion in the agreement over time, each will initially provide up to $250 million to fund the collaboration with the potential for both sides to contribute an additional $500 million.

Calico will be responsible for research and early development during the first five years and continue to advance collaboration projects for a ten year period.

Meanwhile, AbbVie will provide scientific and clinical development support, along with its commercial expertise, to assist Calico in bringing its new discoveries and technologies to the market, especially for products with a focus on drug discovery and early drug development.

“This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to exploring new areas of medicine and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development that augments our already robust pipeline,” said Richard Gonzalez, chairman of the board and CEO of AbbVie, in a statement.

Calico is led by Arthur Levinson, former chairman and CEO of Genentech, a biotechnology company, and Hal Barron, M.D., former executive vice president and chief medical officer of Genentech.

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

As part of the R&D agreement, both Calico and AbbVie will share costs and profits equally.

“Our broad R&D experience and capabilities will complement Calico’s biotechnology expertise and innovative scientific approaches,” said Michael Severino, M.D., executive vice president of research and development and chief scientific officer for AbbVie. “Together, we are confident that we will bring new therapeutic solutions to patients.”

Calico expects to begin filling “critical” positions immediately and plans to establish a team of scientists and research staff in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Written by Jason Oliva