Google is launching Calico, a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases. Art Levinson, Chairman and former CEO of Genentech and Chairman of Apple, will be Chief Executive Officer.
Moonshot thinking to be applied to antiaging
Announcing this new investment, Larry Page, Google CEO 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.” Art said: “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.”
A major Calico initiative will be significantly expanding human lifespan. The September 30th issue of Time magazine will have its cover page article on Calico and this Google initiative.
Google is keeping its exact plans close to the vest. But it is likely to use its data-processing might to shed new light on age-related maladies. Sources close to the project suggest Calico will start with a small number of employees and focus initially on researching new technology.
Google versus Death
It’s worth pointing out that there is no other company in Silicon Valley that could plausibly make such an announcement. Last week Apple announced a gold iPhone; what did you do this week, Google? Oh, we founded a company that might one day defeat death itself.
Google Solve for X approach
Google Solve for X moon shots have three things in common
1. a significant problem for the world that needs solving
2. a potential solution
3. the possibility of breakthrough technology making all the difference.
Unlike present-day NASA missions, Google’s moon shots are unlikely to suffer from underfunding: Google has a $54 billion cash stockpile, not to mention dominant market share in its most important lines of business.
About 40 year old billionaires worth about $20 billion each
Larry Page was born March 26, 1973. As of 2013, Page’s personal wealth is estimated to be US$20.3 billion, ranking him #13 on the Forbes 400 list of the 400 richest Americans.
Sergey Brin was born August 21, 1973. As of 2013, his personal wealth was estimated to be $22.8 billion. Together, Brin and Page own about 16 percent of the company.
Art Levinson is 61 years old and worth in the range of $100 million.
When 40ish multi-billionaires begin to feel the cold wind of mortality *in time to try and do something about it*, there may be hope for us.— Charles Stross (@cstross) September 18, 2013