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Google launches new health company

Google announced Wednesday it was launching a new company focused on health and well-being, and hinted at cooperation with longtime rival Apple in the venture.

A Google statement said the company called Calico "will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of aging and associated diseases."

Arthur Levinson, chairman and former chief executive of the biotech firm Genentech and chairman of Apple, will be Calico's chief executive and a founding investor.

Announcing the new investment, Google CEO Larry Page said: "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."

"It's impossible to imagine anyone better than Art -- one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation -- to take this new venture forward," he said.

Levinson said in the same statement: "I've devoted much of my life to science and technology, with the goal of improving human health. Larry's focus on outsized improvements has inspired me, and I'm tremendously excited about what's next."

Levinson will remain chairman of Genentech and a director of Hoffmann-La Roche, as well as chairman of Apple, the statement noted.

Apple's CEO Tim Cook was quoted in the Google statement as saying: "For too many of our friends and family, life has been cut short or the quality of their life is too often lacking. Art is one of the crazy ones who thinks it doesn't have to be this way. There is no one better suited to lead this mission and I am excited to see the results."

Time magazine, which interviewed Page ahead of the announcement, said the details of the project were not yet clear but that it is likely to use its data-processing to shed new light on age-related maladies.

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