Humanity’s biggest challenge.
Google CEO Larr y Page doesn’t like small ambitions. He famously pushes the envelope of ideas at Google to think beyond what is possible. That’s how a company with the mission of organising the world’s information and making it easier to access ends up dominating the mobile phone market and developing selfdriving cars, along with glasses that project images onto the retina of a human eye. In Page’s world the challenge must be massive before Google embarks on solutions. This has led to its next mission – to defeat death.
Calico is a company founded by Google to this end. A statement released on the creation of the venture said that Calico “will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases.” The company is being led by Arthur Levinson, chairman and former CEO of Genentech and chairman of Apple. He will be CEO and a founding investor of Calico.
Apple CEO Tim Cook commented on Levinson’s appointment saying: “For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn’t have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results.”
In true Google style, Larry Page announced the new company on his Google+ page saying, “Art and I are excited about tackling aging and illness. These issues affect us all – from the decreased mobility and mental agility that comes with age, to life-threatening diseases that exact a terrible physical and emotional toll on individuals and families. And while this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people.”
He also made the point that this investment pails in comparison to what Google spends on its core business, allaying shareholder concerns.
It’s a grand ambition aligned with Page’s famous ‘moon-shot’ approach to new ventures. Oh, and in case you were wondering, the name Calico is short for California Life Company, according to Wikipedia.