Google Life Sciences, a recent spinoff from its parent company, is partnering with the American Heart Association in a new $50 million initiative announced on Sunday.
The initiative, “1 Team, 1 Vision, $50,000,000,” aims to find new ways to solve the challenges posed by coronary heart disease, which accounts for roughly 7 million deaths each year.
Each partner will put up $25 million for the initiative, representing the single largest investment in a new initiative from the American Heart Association.
The joint project was announced on stage at Scientific Sessions, the American Heart Association’s flagship annual gathering for healthcare professionals, by Andy Conrad, Google Life Science’s chief executive, and Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association.
Brown published a narrative on the Huffington Post on Monday, describing the project and the rationale behind the joint venture:
In June, Andy and I were discussing the state of cardiovascular disease research when he suggested shaking things up. He wanted to take a radical new approach to an old problem.
“Let’s pick someone who is a maverick — a smart maverick — and let’s give them wings and see what happens,” he told me. “Why don’t we do it?”
“Game on,” I said.
The AHA’s Board of Directors loved it, too — so much that our investment comes on top of all our other existing commitments. This is significant considering the AHA already is the largest funder of cardiovascular research in the United States outside the federal government. We’ve invested more than $3.9 billion in research, including upwards of $100 million annually since 1996. Still, with all the efforts we’ve ever undertaken, this will be the most heavily funded project in our 91-year history.
It’s also among the most unique.
The traditional approach to cardiovascular research is incremental — taking small steps that can hopefully combine to make big strides. This effort is being compared to the original attempt at putting men on the moon. Even if we don’t get all the way to a cure, think of how many lives we can save and improve by getting close and solving only some of the existing problems.