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Calico LLC, the rather mysterious biotechnology research and development firm established by Google, has announced a research partnership with AbbVie Inc. to develop treatments for age-related diseases. According to the Wall Street Journal, Calico and AbbVie are each set to invest up to $250 million each in the project, with a the potential of adding an additional $500 million apiece sometime down the line.
The companies are looking to address conditions such as cancer and neurodegenerative disorders. Calico will be building a state of the art R&D center somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area that will house early drug development and human trials. AbbVie will assist in the processes of identification, design, and early research of potential drug options. They will also have the option to pick up the management of any late-stage development and marketing, should drugs pass the early stages of trials.
The partnership with AbbVie is ambitious, but not out of character from Google. Calico is emblematic of Google’s continuing desire to branch out into areas beyond internet search, into fields that are benefiting from technological advances.
By focusing on age-related illness, Calico and AbbVie will be venturing into an area where results by pharmaceutical companies and biotech firms have been decidedly mixed. The industry has struggled to make steady advances in age-related disease, especially neurogenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Many experimental treatments to address the underlying progression of such diseases have failed in clinical trials.
For some analysts, the move serves as a perfectly logical step for Google, and proof that they are will to place significant capital into these new directions.
“It’s a drop in the bucket for Google, but they are seeking big outcomes by dramatically extending human life,” said Scott Strawn, an analyst at research firm IDC. “These types of partnerships will be core to making this happen.”
Read more about the partnership between AbbVie and Google’s Calico at the Wall Street Journal.
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