Calico, the Google ( GOOG) -backed life sciences firm, emerged further from stealth mode Wednesday by announcing a drug development collaboration with pharmaceuticals giant Abbvie ( ABBV) .
Under the agreement, Calico and Abbvie will work together to discover and develop new drugs for age-related diseases, including neuro-degeneration and cancer. Calico will set up an R&D facility in the San Francisco Bay Area, and each company will contribute $250 million in initial funding. The funding commitment could grow to $1.5 billion total over 10 years, the companies said.
Google created Calico as an experimental healthcare skunk works seeking to discover and develop ground-breaking therapies for age-related diseases. Calico has operated largely in stealth mode, except for the hiring of some big-name biotech talent. Former Genentech CEO Art Levinson (a Google board member) was tapped as Calico's CEO. Levinson then brought in Hal Barron, the former chief medical officer at Genentech, as his lieutenant.
Under the collaboration with Abbvie, Calico will be responsible for drug discovery and early clinical development of promising drug candidates. Abbvie will support this early research then has the rights to take over clinical development if drug candidates progress to late-stage studies and commercialization.