Google’s Calico, an institution with a mysterious mission to “cure death” could have competition from a new collaboration struck between Ascentage Pharma and Unity Biotechnology.

A joint statement released by both firms explained this new agreement will focus on developing new medications to improve health span. The specific goal will be developing senolytic treatments, which are small-molecule therapies that target senescent cells.

These cells “build up with age and after genotoxic stress, such as total-body irradiation,” wrote FierceBiotech. The publication cited recent research published in Nature that shows clearing out these cells in a mouse model delayed numerous age-associated disorders.

Kidney disease, glaucoma, and atherosclerosis were some of the diseases Unity cited as responding well to these treatments.

Details surrounding this undertaking are sparse, but FierceBiotech added that both firms will create a joint venture for the development and commercialization of these drugs in China where Ascentage is based.

Calico, however, is still tightlipped about its own plans. The organization formed back in 2013 with great fanfare with the intended goal of pursuing medical breakthroughs that could prolong the human lifespan.

Calico struck a $500 million joint partnership with AbbVie in 2014 to identify new treatment methods for Alzheimer’s and cancer. Another collaboration followed in March 2015 when Calicoannounced it would collaborate with The Broad Institute to analyze aging-related diseases. 


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