Google-backed Calico will partner with consumer genetics company AncestryDNA on a research collaboration to investigate human heredity of lifespan, the companies said today.

The value of the collaboration and other financial terms were not disclosed.

AncestryDNA and Calico said they will evaluate anonymized data from millions of public family trees and a growing database of over one million genetic samples.

The companies aim to analyze and investigate the role of genetics and its influences in families that experience unusual longevity, using AncestryDNA’s databases, tools, and algorithms. During an “extensive” research period, AncestryDNA and Calico said, common patterns in longevity and human heredity will be identified through pedigree data.

“We have laid the groundwork for this effort through the combination of an unmatched family history database, one of the fastest growing genetic databases, and a strong and talented team of computer scientists and professional genealogists,” Ken Chahine, evp and head of DNA and health for AncestryDNA, said in a statement.

Calico will follow up on the study by focusing its efforts on developing and commercializing any potential therapeutics that emerge from the analysis, the companies said.

Added David Botstein, Ph.D., Calico's CSO and a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences: “Our common experience suggests that there may be hereditary factors underlying longevity, but finding the genes responsible using standard techniques has proven elusive.”

“This is an extraordinary opportunity to address a fundamental unanswered question in longevity research using high quality human pedigrees,” Dr. Botstein added.

Calico—an acronym for its formal name of California Life Sciences LLC—focuses on aging research and therapeutics. The company was founded in 2013 and is led by two former Genentech executives— Hal V. Barron, M.D., Calico’s president of R&D, who was formerly Genentech’s evp and CMO; and Arthur D. Levinson, Ph.D., who served as Genentech’s chairman and CEO before its acquisition by Roche.

Over the past year, Calico has launched research collaborations with partners that include the Buck Institute for Research on Aging; the University of California (UC) institute QB3; and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Last year Calico inked an up-to-$1.5 billion R&D collaboration with AbbVie to discover, develop, and bring to market new therapies for patients with neurodegeneration and cancer, as well as other age-related diseases.

Since 2012, AncestryDNA has marketed a $99 saliva test designed to help users unearth details of their family histories, including their ethnic mix and distant relatives. The company earlier this month surpassed one million genotyped customers.

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