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Google's New Health Venture Calico Hopes to Entice the Extreme Wealthy With Prospects of a Much Longer Life (10/7/2013)

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Warren Buffett, age 83, worth $58.5 billon dollars meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, July 14, 2010.
Warren Buffett, age 83, worth $58.5 billon dollars meeting with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, July 14, 2010.

68 of the wealthiest people in the world are over 70 years old, and are likely waking up each morning wondering how many more days they have left. Google's new health care venture Calico hopes to solve the problem of aging for them, for a price.

Art Levinson, former CEO of Genentech, among many other distinguishing characteristics, may be the perfect man for the job. He's been a very successful businessman having been involved in several major companies and startups, including Genentech and Apple. His best qualification though is that he isn't a businessman by training, he's a scientist.

Dr. Levinson received his PhD in Biochemistry from Princeton University in 1977. Shortly afterwards he was hired by Genentech where he was a rising star. Levinson started as a research scientist and became vice president of Research Technology in 1989 and senior vice president of Research in 1992 followed by senior vice president of Research and Development in 1993. Within 20 short years he became the CEO.

During his time at Genentech he helped the company grow to employ more than 12,300 people. Annual revenue grew by 77 percent in two years, from $6.6 billion in 2005 to $11.7 billion in 2007. In 2009, The Swiss global health-care company F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG bought out the remaining shares of Genentech for approximately $46.8 billion. Levinson stayed on as chairman, a position he still holds today.

His research at Genentech already put him on the path to curing death. Genentech is one of the worlds largest biotech companies, making life saving drugs like Herceptin, a treatment for certain breast cancers and Avastin for the treatment of metastatic colon or rectum cancer. The company didn't just create drugs to treat cancer, they also created synthetic insulin, Activase to dissolve blood clots, and Pulmozyme a treatment for children and young adults with cystic fibrosis.

Being the head of one of the largest and most successful health care companies, also provided him with ample networking opportunities, something he's sure to exploit in his new role as Calico CEO. Recently Bloomberg published a list of the richest people in the world, and included their age. Unsurprisingly, many of the richest people in the world are also some of the oldest, and closest to death.

Of the 200 people listed with Bloomberg, 68 are over the age of 70. They have a combined net worth of 1.1 trillion dollars. If a cure for death can be found, the financial resources of these people will make it happen, with Levinson leading the way. He also has a stake in the game, at 63 years old, he's also now likely looking into a mirror in the morning and wondering how many days he's got left.

More information about the worlds richest and oldest people, see the table below.

Wealthiest People in the World Over 70

Name Age Net Worth (Billions)
Carlos Slim 70-79  $                   67.30
Amancio Ortega 70-79 61.7
Warren Buffett 80-89 58.5
Ingvar Kamprad 80-89 50.7
Charles Koch 70-79 45.2
David Koch 70-79 45.2
Liliane Bettencourt 90+ 33.1
Sheldon Adelson 80-89 31.7
Li Ka-Shing 80-89 28.8
Karl Albrecht 90+ 27.3
Dieter Schwarz 70-79 26
Michael Ferrero 80-89 23.4
George Soros 80-89 23
Jorge Paulo Lemann 70-79 21.3
Jacqueline Mars 70-79 21.2
John Mars 70-79 21.2
Forrest Mars Jr 80-89 21.2
Lee Shau Kee 80-89 21.1
Carl Icahn 70-79 19.8
Cheng Yu Tung 80-89 19.5
Leonardo del Vecchio 70-79 18.4
Phil Knight 70-79 18.2
Michael Otto 70-79 18.1
Luis Sarmiento 80-89 17.6
Francois Pinault 70-79 17.3
Alberto Bailleres 80-89 16.8
Robert Kuok 90+ 15.9
Serge Dassault 80-89 14.7
Ron Perelman 70-79 14.5
Donald Bren 80-89 14.3
Hans Rausing 80-89 14
Henry Sy Sr 80-89 13.6
George Kaiser 70-79 13.5
Joseph Safra 70-79 13.2
Johanna Quandt 80-89 13
Jack Taylor 90+ 13
Rupert Murdoch 80-89 12.6
Pallonji Mistry 80-89 12.5
Jim Simons 70-79 12
Jim Goodnight 70-79 11.9
Lee Kun Hee 70-79 11.3
Si Newhouse 80-89 11
Charles Butt 70-79 10.8
Klaus-Michael Kuehne 70-79 10.7
Phil Anschutz 70-79 10.4
Giorgio Armani 70-79 10.2
Reinhold Wuerth 70-79 9.6
Harold Simmons 80-89 9.5
Galen Weston 70-79 9.1
Leonard Lauder 80-89 9
Jim Pattison 80-89 8.8
Ananda Krishnan 70-79 8.7
Rich Devos 80-89 8.6
Anne Cox Chambers 90+ 8.1
Stefano Pessina 70-79 7.7
Silvio Berlusconi 70-79 7.7
Tsai Wan-Tsai 80-89 7.4
Heinz Hermann Thiele 70-79 7.3
Wee Cho Yaw 80-89 7.3
Ralph Lauren 70-79 6.9
Dave Duffield 70-79 6.8
Antonia Axson Johnson 70-79 6.8
Chung Mong-Koo 70-79 6.8
John Malone 70-79 6.7
Chalos Ardila 80-89 6.7
Eli Broad 80-89 6.6
Heinz-Horst Deichmann 80-89 6.6
The Hong Piow 80-89 6.5
Total  $               1,128.60

Data, in part, from Bloombergs Billionaires.

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