In 2013 Google started a new aging research company called Calico Labs. This is part of Google’s “moonshot” initiative, which also includes other cutting-edge efforts like the driverless car. Google has a corporate strategy to include such bold efforts outside their core industry as parts of their overall R & D activity.
“Calico is a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase our understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. We will use that knowledge to devise interventions that enable people to lead longer and healthier lives. Executing on this mission will require an unprecedented level of interdisciplinary effort and a long-term focus for which funding is already in place.”
In September 2014 Calico and pharmaceutical company AbbVie announced a joint effort that each company will initially fund with $250 million. Each partner is prepared to invest an additional $500 million.
This development is very exciting, especially to programmed aging proponents, for several reasons:
· Google is explicitly looking for ways (“interventions”) to delay the aging process, i.e. anti-aging medicine.
· Calico is substantially funded.
· Calico is a potentially extremely profitable investment for Google and its stockholders. Imagine what the patents could be worth if fundamentally new treatments are developed!
· Calico is unlikely to be as adversely affected by academic politics, traditional thinking, and non-science factors that have crippled progress in this area for generations.
· Calico’s Vice President for Aging Research is Cynthia Kenyon a leading experimentalist whose lab at UCSF has produced important insight into the nature of programmed aging mechanisms.
· Calico and Kenyon’s appointment represent a tacit acceptance of the idea that aging is programmed and that therefore agents can be found that generally interfere with the aging program. The earlier and still more popular non-programmed aging theories suggest that developing agents that generally delay aging is “impossible” or at least very unlikely.
· Calico will likely lead to other similar initiatives and could result in major and relatively short-term advances in efforts to delay aging and age-related diseases. Calico is likely to benefit from non-traditional data collection and genetic research methods pioneered by 23andme, another Google company.
See Open Letter to Calico and Cynthia Kenyon – Comments on Research Directions.
See Time article Google vs. Death describing Calico and other Google moonshot efforts.
See Google Announcement for Calico.
See Calico Labs Web Site.
Sponsored by Azinet LLC © 2014