Google on Wednesday created a new company tasked with making improvements in human health and overall well-being. Calico will be run by Apple and Genetech chairman Art Levinson but outside of some general comments, Google didn’t delve into exactly what projects the company will be involved in.
In a statement on the matter, Google CEO Larry Page pointed out that illness and aging affect all our families. Given some longer term, moon shot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, he believes the initiative can improve millions of lives. Page also praised Levinson, pointing out it was impossible to imagine anyone better than him to take the new venture forward.
As part of an exclusive interview with Time, Page suggested he would like to see Calico do something more impressive than curing cancer. As he put it, solving cancer would only add about three years to people’s average life expectancy. When you step back and take a look at the broad picture, he said, it’s not as big of an advancement as people might think.
Levinson said he’s devoted much of his life to science and technology with the goal of improving human health. He said he was tremendously excited about what’s next as Page’s focus on outsized improvements has inspired him.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said too many friends and family members have had their life cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. He described Levinson as one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn’t have to be this way.
Levinson will remain on as chairman of both Genetech and Apple and continue his role as director of Hoffmann-La Roche.