Can money buy eternal life? We’re one step closer to finding an answer.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested in Altos Labs, a new research-based startup dedicated to figuring out how to reverse the aging process, according to MIT Tech Review, citing people “briefed by the company.”
This is not a first for the richest man in modern history, who appears to despise growing old. Bezos has previously invested in anti-aging research, most notably in a San Francisco biotech company called Unity Technologies in 2018, which aims to develop anti-aging therapies.
The goal is to conduct “great science.”
According to a securities disclosure filed in June, Altos Labs was founded earlier this year and has raised at least $270 million (£231 million) to develop biological reprogramming technology. The startup’s goal is to develop a method for rejuvenating cells in the lab, which some scientists believe could be applied to entire animal bodies. Following that, the next step could be to extend human life.
The mysterious company is hiring academics to study how cells age and what can be done to slow down the aging process so that our tissues age more slowly. Altos will fund researchers with no immediate expectation of goods or earnings, at least at first, with the sole goal of doing “great science,” and plans to open several institutes in places such as the Bay Area, San Diego, Cambridge, the United Kingdom, and Japan. Any anti-aging treatment discovered by scientists would be worth billions of dollars.
Altos Labs’ goal is to use biological reprogramming, which is the process of ‘instructing cells’ or introducing elements that allow cells to revert to a younger embryonic stage, effectively reversing the aging process. Calico, which is similar to Altos, has a lab devoted to reprogramming and published its first preprint on the subject earlier this year.
Shinya Yamanaka, who shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021 for the discovery of reprogramming, will serve on the company’s scientific advisory board as an unpaid senior scientist, and Spanish biologist Juan Carlos Izpisa Belmonte, who rose to prominence for leading a team that implanted human cells into monkey embryos and predicted that humans could live for another 50 years, has also joined the company’s scientific advisory board.
Many of the world’s wealthiest tech entrepreneurs have invested in the pursuit of immortality and reversing aging, including Google co-founder Larry Page, who helped to found Calico Labs, a longevity company aiming for immortality, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who also invested in Unity Biotechnology. Scientists are actively looking for ways to reverse aging, and we may be closer to reverse aging than you think, with the concept of death becoming obsolete in the next 40-100 years.