SAN FRANCISCO — Google Inc said it plans to set up a new company called Calico, headed by Apple Inc. and Genentech chairman Art Levinson, to develop technologies to tackle health issues related to aging.
The new company will be run separately from Google, the world’s largest Internet search company, with a focus on issues including life-threatening diseases and problems affecting mental and physical agility due to aging.
“While this is clearly a longer-term bet, we believe we can make good progress within reasonable timescales with the right goals and the right people,” Google Chief Executive Larry Page said in a Net posting Wednesday.
Google did not provide any other details about the new company, including where it will be based, how many employees it will have or whether Page would have a direct role in its operations.
Google’s investment in Calico is “significant” and designed to allow the organization to invest in different projects, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.
Google, which makes more than 90 percent of its revenue from advertising, has invested in numerous so-called moonshots since co-founder Page reassumed the role of CEO in 2011. The company is working on self-driving cars, wearable computers, and air balloons that beam wireless Internet access to remote regions of the world.
Page acknowledged in his post that the new company appeared to diverge from “what Google does today.”
“Don’t be surprised if we invest in projects that seem strange or speculative compared with our existing Internet businesses,” he wrote on his Google+ profile.
“And please remember that new investments like this are very small by comparison to our core business.” Google generated $50 billion in revenue last year
Wall Street generally has been tolerant of Google’s side projects, which do not appear to have distracted the company from succeeding otherwise or caused an alarming increase in spending.