Google's health startup forges venture with AbbVie

September 3, 2014

Google's ambitious health startup is teaming up with biotechnology drugmaker AbbVie in a $500 million joint venture that will try to develop new ways to treat cancer and other diseases such as Alzheimer's.

The alliance announced Wednesday calls for Google Inc. and AbbVie Inc. to each invest $250 million in the project. An additional $1 billion may be poured into the project. The two companies will split all expenses and any profits generated by the venture.

Calico, a company hatched by Google last year, will manage a team of scientists who will work at a research-and-development lab in the San Francisco Bay Area. The precise location and size of the new lab hasn't been determined.

AbbVie, a spin-off from Abbott Laboratories, will oversee the marketing of the drugs. The North Chicago, Illinois, company already has been working on drugs to fight Parkinson's disease, Crohn's and other ailments.

Google set up Calico as separate business last year to pursue medical breakthroughs that would enable people to live longer. Toward that end, Calico is doing extensive research to get a better understanding about how the human body ages and working on technology that could cure cancer.

Calico is run by Arthur Levinson, a former CEO of biotech pioneer Genentech and a former member of Google's board. He is also chairman of Apple Inc., which is expected to provide further details to help people manage their health next week when the company unveils its latest iPhone. The expansion into health also could include a new Apple device that could be worn on a person's wrist.

AbbVie Inc. shares slipped 8 cents to $54.99 in afternoon trading Wednesday, while Google shares gained 25 cents to $577.58.

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