Google promises new thinking for health company

Sep 18, 2013
Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO speaks on May 15, 2013 in San Francisco, California. Google announced Wednesday it was launching a new company focused on health and well-being, and hinted at cooperation with longtime rival Apple in the venture.

Google announced Wednesday it was launching a new company focused on health and well-being, and hinted at cooperation with longtime rival Apple in the venture.

A Google statement said the company, Calico, would put a particular focus on "the challenge of aging and associated diseases."

Arthur Levinson, chairman and former chief executive of the biotech firm Genentech and chairman of Apple, will be Calico's chief executive and a founding investor.

Announcing the new investment, Google CEO Larry Page said: "Illness and aging affect all our families. 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," he said.

Levinson said in the same statement: "I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."

Levinson will remain chairman of Genentech and a director of Hoffmann-La Roche, as well as chairman of Apple, the statement noted.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook was quoted in the Google statement as saying: "For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. 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."

Time magazine, which interviewed Page ahead of the announcement, said the details of the project were not yet clear but that it is likely to use its data-processing to shed new light on age-related maladies.

On Google+, Page acknowledged people may be surprised at the effort.

"OK ... so you're probably thinking wow! That's a lot different from what Google does today," he wrote.

"And you're right. But as we explained in our first letter to shareholders, there's tremendous potential for technology more generally to improve people's lives. So don't be surprised if we invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with our existing Internet businesses. And please remember that new investments like this are very small by comparison to our core business."

He said that the venture is still in its "very early days so there's not much more to share yet."

Page told Time—for a cover story titled, "Can Google Solve Death?"—the effort would include innovative thinking, not just ways to fight cancer.

"One of the things I thought was amazing is that if you solve cancer, you'd add about three years to people's average life expectancy," Page told the magazine.

"We think of solving cancer as this huge thing that'll totally change the world. But when you really take a step back and look at it, yeah, there are many, many tragic cases of cancer, and it's very, very sad, but in the aggregate, it's not as big an advance as you might think."

Explore further: China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

More information: googlepress.blogspot.nl/2013/0… co-announcement.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google, shareholders to meet

Jun 02, 2011

(AP) -- Google Inc. will hold its first shareholders meeting since co-founder Larry Page took over as the Internet search leader's CEO.

Google pays CEO a buck, four other execs get $124M

Apr 25, 2013

Google CEO Larry Page and his longtime partner Sergey Brin limited their salaries to $1 apiece last year, while four other top executives received combined compensation packages totaling more than $124 million.

Recommended for you

It's down to the wire for online shopping

4 minutes ago

As the holiday shopping season winds down, FedEx, UPS and online retailers are using the last few days to try to avoid the problems that occurred last year when severe winter weather and a surge in late orders ...

China's Xiaomi raises more than $1 bn in funding

Dec 21, 2014

China's top smartphone seller Xiaomi Corp. is raising more than $1 billion in a fresh round of funding, a move which would raise its valuation above $45 billion, a report said Sunday.

Why the Sony hack isn't big news in Japan

Dec 20, 2014

Japan's biggest newspaper, Yomiuri Shimbun, featured a story about Sony Corp. on its website Friday. It wasn't about hacking. It was about the company's struggling tablet business.

Sony faces 4th ex-employee lawsuit over hack

Dec 20, 2014

A former director of technology for Sony Pictures Entertainment has sued the company over the data breach that resulted in the online posting of his private financial and personal information.

Sony tells AFP it still plans movie release

Dec 20, 2014

Sony Pictures boss Michael Lynton denied Friday the Hollywood studio has "caved" by canceling the release of "The Interview," and said it still hoped to release the controversial film.

2012 movie massacre hung over 'Interview' decision

Dec 19, 2014

When a group claiming credit for the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment threated violence against theaters showing "The Interview" earlier this week, the fate of the movie's big-screen life was all but ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.