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London Tech Week

Jeff Bezos funds age reversal startup that could increase life by 50 years


Two billionaires – Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner are reported to invest in a Silicon Valley biotechnology startup – Altos Labs, an early-stage company that was incorporated in 2021 in the US. The startup has raised $270 million to research the potential of cell reprogramming technology that will reverse ageing in animals and humans as well.

‘Elixir of life’ cell reprogramming

As of now, nothing much is known about Altos Labs but its early hires give us a hint that its anti-ageing techniques might set the industry on fire. The recent hires of the biotech startup include Dr. Shinya Yamanaka, a pioneer in the research of cell reprogramming and a Nobel Prize winner of 2012 for the research.

His notable discovery is that adding four specific proteins to cells will enable an age reversal with the properties of embryonic stem cells. Yamanaka has been hired as an unpaid advisor of Altos’s scientific advisory board.

Another notable hire is that of Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, a Spanish biologist working at the Salk Institute in California. He has pioneered research into cell switching. He demonstrated Yamanka’s embryonic stem cell technique and applied the same to mice in 2016. This became successful and there were signs of age reversal as well. Also, he named this technique as a potential ‘elixir of life.

Next, Dr. Steve Horvath, who developed markets that can accurately measure ageing in animals and humans joined Altos Labs.

Recently, there were plans to speed up the realization of anti-ageing research by forming company with sufficient funding and appoint talent with salaries of up to $1 million in a year. This is how Altos Labs was founded and is headed by Richard Klausner, the former chief of National Cancer Institute, as its CEO.

The notable competitors of Altos in the cell reprogramming sector include Turn Biotechnologies, Shift Bioscience, Life Biosciences and AgeX Therapeutics. Others onboard include Dr. Peter Walter from the University of California, Dr. Wolf Reik, a cell reprogramming specialist from the UK’s Babraham Institute, Dr. Manuel Serrano from the Institute for Research in Biomedicine.

Backdrop of new investors

Talking about the new investors, both Bezos and Milner are new to investing in labs working towards anti-aging solutions. Bezos, with a valuation of $200 billion is likely the richest man in the world. Already, he has invested in Unity Biotechnology, an anti-ageing firm.

On the other hand, Milner has a valuation of $4.8 billion and has invested in Facebook, co-founded Mail.Ru, an internet company, and has funding longevity research via the Milky Way Foundation. Notably, the advisory board of the foundation includes Yamanaka and Dr. Jennifer Doudna.

However, it has to be noted that Altos has not made an official announcement yet. In addition to Bezos and Milner, the company could have other investors from other Silicon Valley and venture capitalist firms.

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