More color(s) on Calico

Fortune, rolling off sister TIME‘s announcement of ‘Can Google Solve Death?’ [TTA 19 Sep], provides more background on how Calico, Google‘s new company which will focus on aging and associated diseases, came to be. It is the brainchild of Google Ventures’ managing partner Bill Maris who was once in biotech, and saw that this area was missing the root cause of much disease–that we all keep on getting older and experience cellular failure. “Now that the entire genome had been coded, Maris wondered if it was possible to actually study the genetic causes of aging and then create drugs to address them (a question that was heavily influenced by talks with futurist and Googler Ray Kurzweil).” He initially attracted major non-Googly investors, but undoubtedly seeing the outside interest, Google decided to fund it exclusively off their own balance sheet. (More revelations to the hows and wheres may be tucked into Google’s quarterly report due shortly.) The writer’s conclusion is that it’s being funded for the long haul with far more flexibility than similar efforts at Big Pharma–and one of its major assets is its new CEO, ex-Genentech leader/Apple and Google board member Art Levinson who was officially ‘retired’. New details on Google’s anti-aging startup  Who knows? If Google gets cracking at this, it may make much of the assistive and telehealth monitoring for older adults presented here somewhat obsolete!

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