Straying away from its Internet roots, Google is launching a company focused on health and well-being. Dubbed Calico, the healthcare firm will tackle aging and all the diseases that come along with it.
Noteworthy is the fact that the venture is bringing together some industry rivals: Google and Apple. Arthur D. Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech and chairman of Apple, will be CEO and a founding investor.
"Illness and aging affect all our families," said Google CEO Larry Page. "With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives. It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art -- one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation -- to take this new venture forward."
Making a Long-Term Bet
Page acknowledged that many people would be surprised at the Calico venture, considering it's so much different from Google's mission to organize the world's and make it universally accessible and useful.
But, Page said in a Google+ post, he sees tremendous potential for technology more generally to improve people's lives. He warned not to be surprised if Calico invests in projects that seem strange or speculative compared to Google's existing Internet business.
"These issues affect us all -- from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families," Page said. "And while this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people."
The Right Man for the Job
Also a member of the Roche Board of Directors, Levinson seems to be the right man for the job. He joined Genentech, a well-known biotech firm, as a research scientist in 1980, and served as Genentech's CEO from 1995 to 2009. "I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health," Levinson said. "Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."
Levinson currently serves on the Board of Scientific Consultants of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Advisory Council for the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics. He has authored or co-authored more than 80 scientific articles and has been a named inventor on 11 United States patents. In 2008, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences.
"For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking," said Apple CEO Tim Cook. "Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn't have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results."
Posted: 2013-09-21 @ 2:35pm PT
There are two main ways in gerontology. First one, to save the lives of people still living. Second, to create human longevity. The second way I do not know. But the first one is simple: we should to revive the young function and structures the vital organ that to 70-90 years has worn down to a critical state, after which comes the death of the organism. It is our skin, the shell of the body, its lungs, kidneys and external brain, nervous, endocrine, circulatory system, etc. More Ashley Montagu pointed out the importance of this organ. For 70-90 years, it performs much wear and 15-20% of its functions. Hence, the diseases of internal organs, which strongly depend on it, hence the death of the organism.
Is it possible to restore young structures and functions of old skin? It is. Skin as muscles, bones derived from stem cells, and can develop. But nobody does this. Or does wrong. It is matter of technique. Updated, hardened skin, this largest organ, will allow organism stay young and live without time constraints. There are no genes or programs of aging in the body. The human genome is transcribed. Why not check it? This can be done today. It is not expensive, but it will bring huge amount of money.
I wish you all good health and to stay young. Our aging and death is the result of misunderstanding the nature of this phenomenon by gerontologists. This error has already been fixed.
Mr. Valery Chuprin, William Mihajlovic, Three layer functional model and energy exchange concept of aging process, AGE Magazine, Springer 2006, 28:111–121 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2464718/pdf/11357_2005_Article_4258.pdf
Posted: 2013-09-18 @ 2:39pm PT
Aubrey de Grey and SENS (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) is always well ahead of Google's plan, but it's good to see that his ideas and concepts aren't regarded as "Sheer fantasy" any longer...