Google, of Mountain View, California, has launched a corporate venture capital arm, Google Ventures, which will be comanaged by entrepreneurs Rich Miner and Bill Maris. Miner has a doctorate in computer science, and Maris' background is in neuroscience. The initial capital amount has not been disclosed, but it's rumored that Google Ventures will spend up to $100 million in the next year. Google spokesperson Andrew Pederson says the fund is not limiting itself “to particular areas right now,” but investments are anticipated across a broad range of industries, including healthcare and biotech. The emergence of another funding avenue is welcome, as the life-sciences venture capital sector saw a 15% decline in investment in 2008, according to figures from PricewaterhouseCoopers Money Tree report. Bernat Olle, of Puretech Ventures in Boston, says that “Google does bring to the table lots of cash at a time when other VCs [venture capitalists] are retreating,” adding that the internet giant “could be seeing this as a vehicle to gain experience in the biotech field, and perhaps even to keep an eye out for disruptive ideas to its core search business that might come from unexpected fields, such as biotech.”