Calico, Google’s life extension company, announced Wednesday that it would be entering into a large scale research agreement with U.S. drug maker AbbVie Inc. Each company will invest $250 million into the development of research facilities in the San Francisco Bay area and the hiring of a “substantial” team of scientists and staff. The companies are hoping that their investments will lead to the discovery and development of new medicines that will stave off diseases related to old-age and death.
Reuters reports that the companies will work together in a joint effort for the next 15 years. Their contract has each company taking over a different stage of drug development, with AbbVie backing Calico’s initial experimental research, which will take roughly 5 years, and an additional 10-years of mid-stage tests termed “Phase 2a.” If Calico emerges from “Phase 2a” with seemingly successful drugs, AbbVie will take over the late-stage trials and marketing.
The agreement appears to play to the strengths of each company. Google’s semi-secret laboratory Google X shows that the company is no stranger to investing highly (and successfully) in experimental technology. Just take a look at the company's increasingly popular Google Glass. Meanwhile AbbVie, as the Wall Street Journal points out, is involved a large number of research agreements aiming at developing drugs to cure diseases ranging from Alzheimer’s to cancer. AbbVie is best known for marketing Humira, the top-selling treatment for rheumatoid arthritis.
Calico and AbbVie are hoping that their joint research agreement will make some headway in the development of life extending drugs. But, as The Verge reports, their current goals, such as curing cancer and other life-threatening diseases, shy away from the bolder claims of radical life extension that were made when Calico was announced last year.