Calico (company)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Calico Life Sciences LLC
FoundedSeptember 18, 2013; 10 years ago (2013-09-18)
FoundersBill Maris,[1][2][3][4] Arthur D. Levinson[5]
HeadquartersU.S, ,
Area served
Key people
Arthur D. Levinson (CEO)
ParentGoogle (2013–2015)
Alphabet Inc. (2015–present)

Calico Life Sciences LLC is an Alphabet subsidiary whose mission is to harness advanced technologies and model systems to increase the understanding of the biology that controls human aging. Calico uses that knowledge to devise interventions that may enable people to lead longer and healthier lives.


The company was announced on September 18, 2013 prior to the Google restructuring and was co-founded by former Genentech Chairman and CEO Arthur D. Levinson, PhD.[6] It was incorporated into Alphabet with Google's other sister divisions in 2015.[7]

In Google's 2013 Founders Letter, Larry Page described Calico as a company focused on "health, well-being, and longevity"[8] and the company's name additionally as a play on "California Life Company."[9]


In September 2014, Calico and AbbVie announced an R&D collaboration focused on aging and age-related diseases such as neurodegeneration and cancer.[10] Working together with AbbVie, Calico pursues discovery-stage research and development utilizing state-of-the-art technology and advanced computing capabilities. [11] AbbVie provides scientific and clinical development support and lends its expertise to commercialization activities.[12] To date, the companies have committed to invest more than $1 Billion into the collaboration.[13]

As of July 2021, the collaboration has produced more than 20 early-stage programs addressing disease states across immuno-oncology and neurodegeneration and has yielded new insights into the biology of aging.[14] Together, AbbVie and Calico are working to advance a number of new investigational drugs, such as ABBV-CLS-7262, through global clinical trials for diseases that include cancer, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Vanishing White Matter (VWM disease)[15][16][17]

In October 2023, Nature (journal) published preclinical research findings that showed ABBV-CLS-484, a PTPN2/N1 phosphatase inhibitor being co-developed by AbbVie and Calico, provokes a potent dual response in cancer and immune cells.[18] [19] [20]

Calico seeks and maintains many different types of partnerships to help advance its scientific pursuits and the development of new clinical interventions. [21] In 2015, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard announced a partnership with Calico to "advance research on age-related diseases and therapeutics".[22] Partnerships with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging,[23] QB3,[24] AncestryDNA,[25] and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and 2M Companies [26] have also been announced.


The Calico team has included a number of pioneering researchers in the field of aging research, including members of the National Academy of Sciences, Cynthia Kenyon, PhD and Daniel E. Gottschling, PhD.[27] Some of the company’s earliest employees included the geneticist David Botstein, PhD, and cancer drug developer Robert L. Cohen, MD. [28] Dr Eric Verdin, CEO of The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, served as a consultant to the Calico team.[29]

At the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, Calico lost two top scientists; in December 2017 Hal Barron, MD, its head of R&D, left for GlaxoSmithKline, and in March 2018 Daphne Koller, who was leading their AI efforts, left to pursue a venture in applying machine learning techniques to drug design.[30][31]


Aubrey de Grey has criticized Calico in an interview in 2017, calling it a "massive disappointment". De Grey claimed that Calico is ignoring existing research on longevity, and instead focuses on understanding aging better. De Grey asserted that, among other people at the top, CSO David Botstein is responsible for this approach, being "a basic scientist through and through" who would therefore "never feel that we have enough knowledge".[32]

The company was criticized for its secrecy, contrary to Google's "open culture" politics, and ineffectiveness given its huge budget.[33]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The brains behind Calico? Bill Maris of Google Ventures". VentureBeat. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  2. ^ Regalado, Antonio. "Can naked mole rats teach us the secrets to living longer?". Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  3. ^ Naughton, John (9 April 2017). "Why Silicon Valley wants to thwart the grim reaper". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  4. ^ Fortuna, W. Harry. "Seeking eternal life, Silicon Valley is solving for death". Quartz. Retrieved 16 February 2018.
  5. ^ "Our People". Calico Labs. 9 October 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  6. ^ "News announcements: Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health and well-being". News announcements. 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  7. ^ "Google Rises After Creating Holding Company Called Alphabet". 2015-08-10. Retrieved 2022-07-11.
  8. ^ Page, Larry. "2013 Founders' Letter". Archived from the original on 2014-07-07.
  9. ^ Pollack, Andrew; Miller, Claire Cain (18 September 2013). "Tech Titans Form Biotechnology Company". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  10. ^ Huet, Ellen. "Google's Calico Joins AbbVie In 'Pivotal' Partnership To Develop Anti-Aging Drugs". Forbes. Retrieved 2020-09-10.
  11. ^ "AbbVie and Calico extend partnership on drugs for age-related diseases". Pharmaceutical Technology. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  12. ^ "AbbVie and Calico extend partnership on drugs for age-related diseases". Pharmaceutical Technology. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  13. ^ Adams, Ben. "AbbVie hits go on $1B re-upped Calico deal as the Google life science spinout continues I-O, neuro push". FierceBiotech. Retrieved 2021-07-27.
  14. ^ McKenzie, Heather. "AbbVie/Calico Innovation Engine Will Keep On Chugging Against Age-Related Diseases". BioSpace. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  15. ^ "A Phase 1 Study With ABBV-CLS-484 in Subjects With Locally Advanced or Metastatic Tumors". Retrieved 2021-03-02.
  16. ^ "Investigational drug ABBV-CLS-7262 initiates design phase for entry into the HEALEY ALS Platform Trial". Massachusetts General Hospital. Retrieved 2022-07-12.
  17. ^ "Phase 1b Study to Investigate ABBV-CLS-7262's Safety, Tolerability & Pharmacokinetics in Vanishing White Matter Patients".
  18. ^ "The PTPN2/PTPN1 inhibitor ABBV-CLS-484 unleashes potent anti-tumour immunity". Nature. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  19. ^ Floersh, Helen. "AbbVie and Calico immunotherapy boosts PD-1 response and tackles T cell exhaustion in mice". FierceBiotech. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  20. ^ DiCorato, Allessandra. "Cancer immunotherapy candidate provokes powerful dual response in cancer and immune cells". Broad Institute. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  21. ^ "Partnering with Calico". Retrieved 2023-10-09.
  22. ^ "Broad Institute and Calico announce an extensive collaboration focused on the biology of aging and therapeutic approaches to diseases of aging". Broad Institute. 2015-03-17. Archived from the original on 2017-08-25.
  23. ^ Carroll, John (2015-04-28). "Google's Calico continues its partnering romp on aging R&D with Buck collaboration". Archived from the original on 2015-05-01.
  24. ^ "Calico and QB3 announce partnership to conduct research into the biology of aging and to identify potential therapeutics for age-related diseases". 24 March 2015. Archived from the original on 9 May 2017. Retrieved 6 June 2015.
  25. ^ Brodwin, Erin. "A collaboration between Google's secretive life-extension spinoff and popular genetics company Ancestry has quietly ended". Business Insider. Retrieved 2020-04-22.
  26. ^ "UT Southwestern researchers discover novel class of NAMPT activators for neurodegenerative disease; Calico enters into exclusive collaboration with 2M to develop UTSW technology". 11 September 2014. Archived from the original on 12 May 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2015.
  27. ^ "National Academy of Sciences Member Directory".
  28. ^ Leuty, Ron. "Art Levinson's Calico taps former Genentech execs, other top scientists as first 4 hires". San Francisco Business Times. Retrieved 2013-11-19.
  29. ^ "Dr. Eric Verdin—The Effect of Food on Longevity". Retrieved 2023-11-21.
  30. ^ Al Idrus, Amirah (March 2, 2018). "Calico loses its second executive in 4 months as Daphne Koller quits". FierceBiotech.
  31. ^ Koller, Daphne (1 May 2018). "insitro: Rethinking drug discovery using machine learning".
  32. ^ de Grey, Aubrey. "Aubrey de Grey Critiques Google Calico's Approach to Ending Aging" (Interview). Interviewed by Micah Redding.
  33. ^ "Google is super secretive about its anti-aging research. No one knows why". 27 April 2017.

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