Google has announced a new company called Calico, which aims to tackle the "challenges of aging and associated diseases."
Announced in a very brief press release, Calico will be led by the current chairman of Apple, Art Levinson, who is also chairman of Genentech, a company credited with founding the biotechnology industry.
Details about the project are pretty limited so far, with the search giant describing Calico as "a new company that will focus on health and well-being, in particular the challenge of ageing and associated diseases".
Google's co-founder Larry Page said the new company could improve millions of lives, but failed to mention exactly how Calico could achieve that. Both Page and Apple CEO Tim Cook said that Levinson was the ideal candidate for the job. "[He is] one of the leading scientists, entrepreneurs and CEOs of our generation," said Page.
Levinson said: "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."
Details of just how Calico will operate or what the results will be are still thin on the ground, but in a wide-ranging but ultimately specifics-lacking feature in Time magazine, Page does say that Calico will harness Google's "core data-handling skills to shed new light on familiar age-related maladies".
Reports also suggest that Calico will start out with a small number of employees initially focusing on researching new technologies.
Google is well known for its so-called Moonshot experiments which are based out of its highly secretive Google X department, including a driverless car, Wi-Fi balloons, flying wind turbines and Google Glass, the company's wearable computer technology.
However Calico will not be linked to Google X, and is in fact an entirely new company, a first for Page in his time as CEO of the company.
Both Larry Page and fellow Google co-founder Sergey Brin have personal interests in advancing medical knowledge. Page suffers from a rare nervous disorder which has paralysed his vocal cords and limited his public appearances over the past 12 months.
Brin has an inherited genetic condition that makes him predisposed to Parkinson's disease - a disease his mother was diagnosed with in 2008.
Page and Brin have previously made significant contributions to research into both conditions.