What’s Google Doing Setting Up a Health Company?
Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) had big news to break Wednesday, when it reported in a blog post that it was gearing up to switch lanes and invest in a new company, Calico, that will focus on health and well-being. The issue of aging and its associated diseases will account for most of Calico’s attention, but it is also possible the company’s reach could eventually spread even farther.
Although the news reflects somewhat of a pivot in Google’s business and investment strategy, the new venture is also not entirely surprising to investors. Bloomberg highlighted in a report that Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page has been very vocal about his struggles with personal ailments, including his diagnosis of left vocal cord paralysis earlier this year, and has worked to ensure Google Ventures, his company’s venture arm, has contributed significantly to health-related companies. He maintained in the blog post Wednesday: “Illness and aging affect all our families. With some longer term, moonshot thinking around healthcare and biotechnology, I believe we can improve millions of lives.”
Arthur Levinson, chairman of Roche Holding AG’s (NYSE:ROG) Genentech unit and a former Google director, will be responsible for leading the charge; he’ll also continue at his roles at Hoffman and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), where he serves as chairman. Levinson was once chairman of both Apple and Google, but he stepped down from Google’s board in 2009 in order to deflect a regulatory probe that arose from his presence on both boards.