Google take their first steps in the pharmaceutical industry

Google’s Calico has taken its first steps into research

Google are finally changing focus and upping their efforts in the health arena, it has just signed its first ever research deal to develop a new set of compounds for its biotech firm Calico.

Google’s healthcare focussed offshoot Calico was established a year ago and not until this month, the company came up with a clear strategy or have any external partnerships in place. Now that has all changed when it signed a deal worth potentially $1.5 billion with US firm AbbVie, with the idea to discover new drug treatments for ageing.

Calico also has just signed its first licensing deal, which has given them development rights to the protective P7C3 compounds. In current animal studies, P7C3 has shown that it can guard against a few diseases which in include Parkinsons’s disease, motor neuron disease and also depression.

With new data being released this week that reports the P7C3 drugs could be used in a promising therapy for concussion and also a potential in having an effect on the healing of stroke damage.

The chairman of the biochemistry department at the University of Texas Southwestern Dr Steven McKnight has had this to say after it an announced that Calico would be working closely with the University in Texas. “We are excited to join forces with Art Levinson (Who is the chief executive of Calico and chairman of Apple), whom I have known and admired for over 25 years, and the Calico team to advance our scientific discoveries toward clinical and commercial objectives.

This has been a very good early step from Calico and Google however these investigational treatments are still at a very early stage and are a very high risk of not even making the final stages of research and development. The normal process to go through R&D usually takes on average 12 years and about $1.5 billion worth of investment.

On thing that Calico has that most early stage biotech firms don’t is the backing of one world’s biggest and most profitable companies although both Calico and Google; will face a uphill battle in trying to get its first treatment to market.

It will also have to traverse the complex and onerous regulatory system inherent in drug development, something that Google has not had to face in the technology world.

Google have already complained about the difficulty of healthcare regulation earlier this year and also went as far to indicate that they wouldn’t be willing to enter this market however with these recent revelations its quite clear that Google have shown their hand here.

Alex Carson

PiR Resourcing leaders in senior life science resourcing. For more news and information, you can follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn  For all our latest roles in the Life Science sector please click here.

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