Google and Apple announced the creation of Calico, a new health technology business focused on aging and related diseases. Calico will be run and operated separately and independently from Google and Apple. Its investors, besides Google, include Arthur Levinson, the chairman of Apple and biotech company Genentech, who will be Calico’s first CEO.
This represents a major response by two of the world’s largest companies to deal with the increasing aging population in the United States and the world, and the consequences that come with it. For example, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, an estimated 5.2 million Americans of all ages have Alzheimer’s disease in 2013. In 2013, Alzheimer’s will cost the nation $203 billion. This number is expected to rise to $1.2 trillion by 2050. Similar trends follow for other diseases that affect the elderly, including cancer, heart failure, and diabetes.
Calico will seek to address issues of aging and represents the largest private sector response to the crisis. According to the New York Times:
Dr. Levinson said that at first Calico would be “more of an institute certainly than a pharmaceutical company,” focusing on basic research aimed at picking apart the biological mechanisms behind aging.
He said much of that early research might be done by providing money to academic scientists, though Calico might also hire its own researchers. Dr. Levinson, who is Calico’s only employee for now, would not say when, or even if, Calico hoped to develop a drug to fight aging.
According to Google’s press release:
Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO said: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It’s impossible to imagine anyone better than Art—one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation—to take this new venture forward.” Art said: “I’ve devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I’m tremendously excited about what’s next.”
We certainly know very little about the project, which was formally announced on the Google+ page yesterday. However, it has the potential to go where few anti-aging efforts have gone before. We at Medgadget are excited to see the results!
Google+ announcement: Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health and well-being
New York Times: Tech Titans Form Biotechnology Company