Calico and AbbVie Renew Vows

As with most things associated with Google, Calico are big news. (Credit: Funding Note)

Calico’s funding goes up to $2.5 billion, as Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and AbbVie commit a further $500 million each. This extends the collaboration between AbbVie and Calico, which began in 2014, for another three years.

As with most things associated with Google, Calico are big news. Although funded by Alphabet, they were set up by Google back in September 2013. Rather than tackling age-related diseases, the company is trying to take on ageing head on, to devise interventions that could enable people to lead longer and healthier lives.

The collaboration with AbbVie has so far produced more than two dozen early-stage programs addressing disease states across oncology and neuroscience and yielded new insights into the biology of ageing. And that’s about all we know about what they’ve got going on. What we’ve learned over the past 5 years is that Calico are staying tight-lipped, and will strive to let their science do the talking as and when its ready to make a difference.

“We’re not going to be specific about molecular targets,” says Calico’s Bob Cohen, a Genentech veteran and cancer specialist. “It hasn’t been in our nature to hype about what we have.”

“What I can tell you is that we are very pleased with the progress of the collaboration,” says Jim Sullivan, the head of discovery at AbbVie. “We have a number of potential viable clinical programs.”

Both were speaking to John Carroll for Endpoints News.

Under the new terms of the agreement, it looks like Calico will be responsible for research and early development until 2022, and hopefully advance collaboration projects through Phase 2a through 2027.

As well as splitting costs and profits equally, AbbVie will continue to support Calico in those early R&D efforts. Following completion of Phase 2a studies, AbbVie will then have the option to manage late-stage development and commercial activities.

Speaking more broadly about the collaboration, Michael Severino, executive vice president, research and development, and chief scientific officer at AbbVie stated, “We’ve built a successful collaboration – both scientifically and culturally – that is advancing cutting-edge science. Calico has attracted an outstanding team of world-class scientists and the extension of this collaboration allows us to further build on the research we’ve done to identify transformative treatment options for patients with age-related diseases.”

Speaking on behalf of the roughly 150 employees, Calico CEO Arthur Levinson (also formerly of Genentech), was very functional with his sentiments “Our collaboration with AbbVie has fully met our high expectations. Our initial agreement created a unique partnership and this extension will accelerate further our efforts to understand the science of ageing to advance novel therapies for patients.”

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