AbbVie and Calico renew their aging research collaboration with an extra $1B

Since the collaboration got underway in 2014, researchers have produced more than two dozen early-stage programs in oncology and neuroscience, which Calico plans to advance into early-phase trials over the coming years. (AbbVie)

AbbVie and Calico are reupping their massive, $1.5 billion research collaboration on age-related diseases first launched in 2014, with a new billion-dollar commitment split between the two.

The agreement between the Big Pharma and Alphabet’s life sciences discovery arm will be extended for at least another three years—with AbbVie supporting early R&D efforts in cancer and neurodegenerative disorders, while Calico advances projects to the clinic.

Following completion of phase 2a trials, AbbVie will have the option to manage late-stage development activities. Both companies will share the profits and costs equally, with each investing an additional $500 million in the project.

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In addition, AbbVie will help lead commercialization, while Calico will be responsible for R&D until 2022. The current plan is to advance a number of therapeutics into early-phase clinical trials through 2027.

Since the collaboration got underway in 2014, in Calico’s early days after being formed by Google, researchers have produced more than two dozen early-stage programs in oncology and neuroscience, as well as explored the underlying biology of aging, the two companies said in a statement. In that time, the secretive Calico has grown to over 150 employees, based in an R&D facility in South San Francisco.

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“Our collaboration with AbbVie has fully met our high expectations,” said Calico CEO Arthur Levinson, who formerly led Genentech and also serves as chairman of Apple’s board of directors. “Our initial agreement created a unique partnership and this extension will accelerate further our efforts to understand the science of aging to advance novel therapies for patients.”

AbbVie’s chief scientific officer and R&D head, Michael Severino, agreed: “We've built a successful collaboration—both scientifically and culturally—that is advancing cutting-edge science.”