Calico enlists a genetics A-Team for its mysterious anti-aging venture

 In September, Google announced a mysterious new venture to combat death itself.
Google’s top executives didn’t say much about the anti-aging initative, called Calico, except that former Genentech chief executive and Apple board-member Arthur Levinson would take the reigns. Calico will not be incubated at Google (the new offices are reported to be in the Bay Area), to make clear that it’s an independent entity.
Since then, a few additional details have come to light. We reported that Bill Maris of Google Ventures initially had the idea for Calico, which he brought to Google’s Sergey Brin and Larry Page. It’s still not yet clear whether these top executives will be involved in Calico’s daily operations, or will take a backseat.
In my original analysis, I surmised that Calico may provide research grants and funding to scientists working on innovative anti-aging drugs and other therapies. However, it’s looking increasingly likely that Calico will conduct its own research to uncover the root cause of how and why we age.
“We said then that with the right goals, culture and people, we believe we can make good progress on health and well being, in particular the challenge of staying youthful, healthy and disease-free for a longer time” Levinson wrote in a Google-Plus post Tuesday.
This week, Calico revealed that it is reaching out to genetics superstars. Its first big catch: Hal Barron will soon leave his post at Swiss health care giant Roche to oversee research and development at Calico. Barron is a former chief medical officer at Genentech, where he served under Levinson for many years.