Google Is Going to Build A $1.5 Billion Aging Research Center

The tech giant announced it would partner with Chicago-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie to develop new treatments for aging-related diseases.

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Google is prescribing a new plan to enter the pharmaceutical business. The tech giant announced a partnership with Chicago-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie to develop new treatments for common diseases associated with aging.

Calico, a startup funded by Google, will work with AbbVie to spend $1.5 billion toward researching and developing new drugs and treatments for diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's disease. A new R&D center will also be established in the San Francisco Bay area.

The partnership marks a two-step process in creating drugs. Calico will work on researching the science of aging using Google's advanced technology. AbbVie, meanwhile, will do what it does best: bringing drugs from late-stage development to market. (The company is best known for developing Humira, the biggest-selling drug in the world.)

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

Google's mission to take another step away from Internet searches started last year, when it created the research and development company to funnel tech toward aging research. Levinson, who had also been the chief executive of life sciences company Genentech until 2009, targeted AbbVie to launch the venture.

According to The Chicago Tribune, AbbVie and Calico will each provide $250 million at launch. The former's CEO Richard Gonzalez also released a statement supporting the collaboration:

[The collaboration] demonstrates our commitment to exploring new areas of medicine and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development that augments our already robust pipeline. The potential to help improve patients' lives with new therapies is enormous.

As progress is made, the two companies will contribute an additional $500 million each, The Wall Street Journal reported. Both will "share costs and profits equally."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.