Google firm in $1.5b tieup to fight ageing ills

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Google-backed life sciences firm Calico and bio-pharmaceutical titan AbbVie on Wednesday announced an alliance to invest $1.5 billion to find ways to battle age-related diseases.

Calico, short for California Life Sciences, was created by Google to help people live longer, healthier lives. The two companies will combine strengths to discover, develop and bring to market new therapies for illnesses that afflict people as they get old. This includes neuro-degenerative conditions and cancer.

"Our relationship with AbbVie is a pivotal event for Calico, whose mission is to develop life-enhancing therapies for people with age-related diseases," said Calico chief Art Levinson, a former head of Gen-entech. "It will greatly accelerate our efforts to understand the science of ageing, advance our clinical work, and help bring important new therapies to patients everywhere."

The agreement between the companies will lead to the creation of a premier research and development facility in the San Francisco area.

“This collaboration demonstrates our commitment to exploring new areas of medicine and innovative approaches to drug discovery and development that augments our already robust pipeline,” said AbbVie chief executive Richard Gonzalez. “The potential to help improve patients' lives with new therapies is enormous.”

AbbVie and Calico will each provide $250 million at the outset, then later fund the venture with an addition $500 million each, according to terms of the agreement.

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