Calico, the secretive Google-backed life sciences company, today revealed plans to build what could be a $1.5 billion research and development center with biopharmaceutical company AbbVie, the recent spinoff of Abbott Laboratories.

The new San Francisco Bay Area facility will focus on drug discovery and early drug development for diseases like neurodegeneration and cancer. Calico’s larger aim is lifespan extension.

This particular moonshot won’t come cheap. Calico and AbbVie said they are splitting costs equally by each committing $250 million upfront, with an option to add $500 million more. Calico is to lead the first five years of early development, with AbbVie managing late-stage development and commercialization.

The goal of Calico is “to develop life-enhancing therapies for people with age-related diseases,” according to Calico CEO Art Levinson, the former CEO of Genentech.

Calico’s overall budget hasn’t been disclosed, but it’s obviously quite large. The company — whose official name is California Life Sciences — was established by Google nearly a year ago and shortly thereafter announced significant hires in areas like genetics and oncology. Levinson remains chairman of both Apple and Genentech.




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