The new company is known as Calico, and will focus on health issues with an extreme long-term view. I mean the type of long-term research into issues like aging and chronic illness that traditional drug researchers just can’t do. They’re under the thumb of shareholders looking for short-term profits, and can’t afford to take huge swings at projects with an uncertain outcome.
But Calico can and will take these long-view risks with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s blessing and fundamental backing. It’s not about making money, but about making the world a better place.
I’m excited to see Tim Cook openly supporting this Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) project, especially since Calico CEO Arthur Levinson had to give up his Google board seat amid the Android-iPhone wars. The cold war between these tech giants may finally be thawing a little. And it’s great to see biotech giant Roche’s leadership supporting the kind of research that its own investors would never let it spend millions on. The company will have the pedigree to get something done. Levinson comes with decades of industry experience, having served as CEO of Genentech for 14 years. He’s still the chairman of Genentech and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), and holds a board seat at larger Swiss company Roche, which owns Genentech these days. Franz Humer, Roche’s CEO, seems excited about working with Levinson’s new company. Apple CEO Tim Cook praised Levinson as “one of the crazy ones” who wants to stretch our lifespans and improve quality of life in the twilight years.
As a Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) investor and a human being, this announcement tickled me pink. I’m obviously interested in living longer and more comfortably, but that humanitarian angle isn’t the main attraction here.
This project underscores Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s commitment to making the world a better place in general. “Do no evil” is real, even after all these years. The company’s official mission is to “organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” Do it right and the money will follow.