Slowly but surely, Google's ($GOOG) star-driven biotech Calico is laying the foundation for what promises to be a major biotech focused on some of the biggest diseases that limit longevity. There's a Big Pharma partnership with AbbVie ($ABBV), a development deal down in Texas and now it's time to team up with top scientists. Earlier in the week Harvard and MIT's renowned Broad Institute signed on to work with Calico on pushing new therapies into the clinic.
Hal Barron, the ex-Genentech wiz who was brought in by his old boss Art Levinson to helm R&D, says Calico is particularly interested in tapping the Broad's expertise in genetics related to some core fields, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And over at the Broad, the notion of mixing their world-class science with Calico's legendary R&D drug team sounds like a winner.
"The combination of our genetics, biology and chemistry expertise with Calico's therapeutics expertise will accelerate progress on important problems," says Eric Lander, the director of the world-famous institute.
Even for a preclinical discovery deal, the statement on this new pact is long on aspiration and short on detail. Calico has managed to maintain a high profile without publicly chatting about just what it plans to do, finding that the tech industry's notorious secrecy about new product development translates well to biotech--at least with a group of players as famous as these.
Backed with Google's deep, deep pockets, married now to AbbVie and with its first development deal on the table--a preclinical licensing pact with UT Southwestern scientists to explore the potential of P7C3 compounds to protect the brain--Calico is promising to build a company from the ground up, with labs in San Francisco, Dallas and presumably anyplace else they may be needed.
- here's the release