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Genentech's Former CEO and Google to Try Curing Parkinson's Disease

Genentech's Former CEO and Google to Try Curing Parkinson's Disease

Calico, a company led by former Genetech CEO Art Levinson and backed by Mountain View-based Google Inc. said on September 11th that it had inked a $1.5 billion, 10-year research and commercialization deal with AbbVie Inc. to develop treatments for Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease, plus treat traumatic brain injury., according to a report by the San Francisco Business Times. 

Calico is working with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and 2M Cos. Inc. to develop therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases caused by the aging and the death of nerve cells.  

The deal centers on P7C3 compounds that were originally discovered by researchers at UT Southwestern.  Subsequent animal studies with administering PP7C3 have been shown to positively affect ALS, Parkinson’s, depression and age-related neurocognitive impairment.  

A research paper published on September 11th in the journal Cell demonstrated that P7C3 based drugs activate a cellular enzyme involved in energy metabolism that is critical to the proper functioning cells.

Another paper published on the same day in the Cell Reports by UT Southwestern researchers Dr. Steven McKnight, Dr. Joseph Ready and University of Iowa professor Dr. Andrew Pieper, showed that P7C3 compounds can protect against brain dysfunction when administered to rodents following traumatic injury.

UT Southwestern had previously licensed the P7C3 compounds to 2M in 2010.  The company is a Dallas-based family office founded by Mort Meyerson, the former CEO at Ross Perot’s EDS and Perot Systems. 2M has been investing in life science therapies through its Claria Bioscience LLC affiliate in 2010.

South San Francisco based Calico have signed a formal agreement to work together. Calico will be responsible for developing and commercializing any drugs resulting from research and funding research labs in Dallas and elsewhere. 

“This is an important collaboration for Calico,” Dr. Hal Barron, President of Research and Development at Calico, said in a press release.  “We look forward to working with the world-leading scientists who discovered the P7C3 class of molecules to learn whether the remarkable biological effects can be translated to the treatment of human disease.”

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Image: Google Calico/Facebook


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