Google's Calico continues its partnering romp on aging R&D with Buck collaboration

Calico CEO Art Levinson

Google's stealthy biotech Calico is setting up shop inside the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Novato, CA, after hammering out the latest in a long lineup of deals to collaborate on a new generation of therapeutics.

For South San Francisco-based Calico, the deal gives the biotech a chance to fund new work on projects "ranging from basic biology to potential therapies for age-related diseases," which is Calico's area of expertise. Calico in turn will get an exclusive option on the rights to any discoveries made in the collaboration, with the biotech establishing its own operations at the Buck.

Calico, which is headed by the legendary Art Levinson of Genentech fame, has rapidly spread its research tentacles into a range of institutes in search of crafting together a major pipeline of new drugs, all with the financial backing of Google ($GOOG), which has some of the deepest pockets on the planet.

UCSF's Peter Walter

Just a few weeks ago Calico signed up with UCSF's Lasker Award-winning Professor Peter Walter, who's been studying modulators of integrated stress response, or ISR, in cells as it relates to cognitive decline. That followed a new relationship with the Bay Area brain trust at QB3 last month to spotlight new therapies for longevity. Harvard and MIT's Broad Institute in Cambridge, MA, partnered up just days before. And AbbVie ($ABBV) stepped up earlier with a $1.5 billion deal to help build a major new player in biotechnology. 

Calico R&D President Hal Barron

While Calico has been quick to acknowledge its deal spree with scientists and institutions, terms are not provided and details can be hard to come by. The executives inside the company have also been notoriously tight-lipped, declining invitations for interviews as they go about setting up the company and creating a research foundation to build on.

"Given the Buck's exclusive focus on aging, we believe that there's great potential to increase our understanding of the biology of aging and to accelerate the translation of emerging insights into therapies to help patients with age-related diseases," noted Calico R&D chief Hal Barron in a statement.

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