Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) recently made a surprising announcement regarding Calico, a new company that will focus on controlling aging and other health-related problems affecting people.
Arthur Levinson is leading Calico. He was a former board member of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and ex-CEO of Genentech, and currently serving as chairman of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL). Many were surprised that the search engine giant picked Levinson to lead its new company because he left Google several years ago in order to remain chairman of Apple.
Despite the rivalry of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) in many areas in the technology industry, particularly in the smartphone and tablets market, it appears the tech giants have the same goal when it comes to social issues, and they are willing to work together.
Tim Cook was excited about Calico
Apple CEO Tim Cook was excited about Calico, and said, “For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short, or the quality of their life is too often lacking.”
Amid the excitement on Calico, many wonder regarding the amount of investment Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) is putting into the project. Fortune’s senior editor, Dan Primack did some research regarding Calico and found that the search engine giant is investing hundreds of millions of dollars to control aging.
Primack also learned that the person behind Calico was Bill Maris, managing partner of Google Ventures and a former biotech portfolio manager at Investor AB. According to sources, Maris discovered that hundreds of companies in the life and sciences sector are focusing on treating or minimizing different types of diseases to extend or improve the quality of human life. However, he noticed that companies are not focusing on aging, which is the cause of diseases and death.
Maris became curious if it is possible to study the genetic cause of aging and develop drugs to resolve the problem. He started raising funds from venture capitalists and rich executives in Silicon Valley, including Sergey Brin, co-founder and director of special projects at Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) to support the study on aging.
The board of directors of Google approved the project
Brin, Maris, and Google CEO Larry Page discussed possible investments and eventually decided to fund the entire project from the company’s balance sheet. The board of directors of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) approved the project.
“I have heard various numbers as to the exact Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) commitment, but for now can only really say that we’re talking about a minimum of hundreds of millions (tranched out, of course). The company itself still isn’t commenting, although it’s possible that there will be some specifics in its next quarterly earnings report (due next week),” wrote Primack.
Primack learned that the original intention of Maris is to help manage Calico while continuing his position at Google Ventures.