Calico (company)

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Calico Life Sciences LLC
FoundedSeptember 18, 2013; 9 years ago (2013-09-18)
FoundersBill Maris,[1][2][3][4] Arthur D. Levinson[5]
Area served
Key people
Arthur D. Levinson (CEO)
ParentGoogle (2013–2015)
Alphabet Inc. (2015–present)

Calico Life Sciences LLC is an Alphabet subsidiary responsible for health research and development, life sciences and biotechnology. Originating on September 18, 2013 prior to the Google restructuring and led by former Genentech Chairman and CEO Arthur D. Levinson, PhD. with the goal of combating aging and diseases of aging,[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]

Partnerships and staff[edit]

In September 2014, it was announced that Calico, in partnership with AbbVie, would be opening up an R&D facility focused on aging and age-related diseases, such as neurodegeneration and cancer.[10] Initially, each company will invest $350 million, with an option for each to add an extra $500 million later on.[11] In the same month, Calico announced a partnership with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and 2M Companies regarding drug development for neurodegenerative disorders.[12]

In 2015, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard announced a partnership with Calico to "advance research on age-related diseases and therapeutics",[13] a further partnership also was announced with the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.[14] Also in 2015, Calico announced a partnership with QB3 based on researching the biology of aging and identifying potential therapeutics for age-related diseases[15] and one with AncestryDNA based on conducting research into the genetics of human lifespan.[16]

At the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018, Calico lost two top scientists; in December 2017 Hal Barron, 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.[17][18]


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".[19]

The company was criticized for its secrecy, contrary to Google's "open culture" politics, and ineffectiveness given its huge budget.[20]

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. ^ Blogs, Google (2013-09-18). "News announcements: Google announces Calico, a new company focused on health and well-being". News announcements. Retrieved 2022-07-11. {{cite web}}: |first= has generic name (help)
  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 Announce a Novel Collaboration to Accelerate the Discovery, Development, and Commercialization of New Therapies". 3 September 2014. Archived from the original on 6 February 2015. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  12. ^ "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.
  13. ^ "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.
  14. ^ 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.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ Al Idrus, Amirah (March 2, 2018). "Calico loses its second executive in 4 months as Daphne Koller quits". FierceBiotech.
  18. ^ Koller, Daphne (1 May 2018). "insitro: Rethinking drug discovery using machine learning".
  19. ^ de Grey, Aubrey. "Aubrey de Grey Critiques Google Calico's Approach to Ending Aging" (Interview). Interviewed by Micah Redding.
  20. ^ "Google is super secretive about its anti-aging research. No one knows why". 27 April 2017.

External links[edit]