Calico Responds to Job Cut Rumors

Google's Anti-Aging Biotech Calico Could be Quietly Cutting Jobs September 19, 2016
By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO – Online rumors that Google ’s anti-aging biotech company Calico is slashing jobs are false. Neil Cohen, a public relations representative for the company, said speculative reports that Calico was terminating an unknown number of employees are inaccurate.

“Calico is not reducing staff. In fact, the company is actively hiring,” Cohen said in an email, pointing to a number of job openings on Calico’s website.

An article about job cuts in Silicon Valley makes a brief mention that Calico will be cutting some jobs. The article bundled the cuts in with cuts from Google’s Fibre Division, which it said was slashing 500 jobs, about 50 percent of its workforce. Where got its information in unknown, but the brief mention of cuts is false, Cohen said.

Calico’s website lists several positions, including scientific investigators into aging and oncology.

Calico is focused on the development of products and technologies that can extend and control one’s lifespan, as well as target age-related diseases, such as cancer and neurodegeneration. The company has struck several collaborative agreements in its anti-aging pursuit, including a 2014 partnership with Illinois-based AbbVie to reverse engineer the biological aging process in people. The $500 million partnership is slated for a 10-year period to advance its experimental drugs through Phase IIa studies and small mid-stage trials that will establish a likelihood the drugs may work in larger studies. The company has also set up various relationships with companies like AncestryDNA, the Buck Institute for Age Research in Novato, California, the University of California, San Francisco and the University of California’s QB3 institute.

Calico has trial candidates in the pipeline for the treatment of Parkinson's disease and Lou Gehrig's disease.

The search for a so-called fountain of youth drug is nothing new and is not limited to the work being done by Calico. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis is exploring the efficacy of bacterial agent rapamycin has shown promise in blocking the genetics of aging and aging-related diseases such as cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease. A Novartis study released in December 2014 that looked at experimental drug RAD001 (rapamycin), a member of the mTOR inhibitors class of drugs, revealed surprising results that could help unlock a key to the anti-aging process. The elderly volunteer patients, ages 65 and older, who received multiple doses of rapamycin over a period of weeks showed a 20 percent improvement in their immune response after being given an influenza vaccine. Additionally, the study showed the reduction of PD-1 receptors in patients, which inhibits T-cell signaling.

Other pharmaceutical companies have attempted to defy the aging process, including a $720 million gamble by GlaxoSmithKline that did not pan out.

Last month startup Elysium Health announced its supplement, dubbed Basis, can have a positive impact on extending the lives of people who take the supplement. Basis is designed to optimize NAD+ levels and sirtuin function in cells to support several metabolic processes, such as cellular detoxification, DNA repair and energy production. The active ingredients in Basis pterostilbene and NR are naturally occurring substances, which has allowed the company to bypass regulation from the Food and Drug Administration and market the product.

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