Jeff Bezos is reportedly one of its top investors.
Introducing Altos Labs
A new and somewhat shadowy Silicon Valley company dedicated to anti-aging research is getting major funding from the uber wealthy.
Altos Labs, a biological reprogramming tech company, is allegedly attracting big name investors such as Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner, according to MIT Technology Review. The company is currently luring some of the world’s top scientists to join with big salaries and promises to give them free reign on their anti-aging research.
Some of the folks joining are bound to raise a few eyebrows too.
Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a biologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, is amongst the many scientists coming aboard Altos. He made waves in 2017 when he began research into creating a human/pig chimera. Shinya Yamanaka, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner for his research into aging reversal in cells, will also be joining as the chair on Altos scientific advisory board.
"Although there are many hurdles to overcome, there is huge potential," said Yamanaka to MIT Technology Review.
Biological reprogramming is a method of rejuvenating cells that could be the key to immortality. While there are numerous reprogramming startups out there, none of them quite have the backing that Altos Labs boasts now.
When you think about it, it’s no surprise that the uber wealthy have a vested interest in trying to live as long as possible. As the saying goes, "No amount of money ever bought a second of time." However, it is a bit mysterious what exactly the end game for Altos Lab is though — and how they’ll get there.
MIT Technology Review reports that there won’t be hard goals or possibly even deadlines for Altos’ researchers. Instead, the company will look to create "great science" (whatever that means).
"The aim is to understand rejuvenation," said Manuel Serrano, a researcher formerly at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Spain. Like some of his peers, Serrano was drawn to Altos after they offered to pay him five to ten times what he currently earns. "I would say the idea of having revenue in the future is there, but it’s not the immediate goal."
So Altos Labs is still a bit of a mystery. The reason why it’s being funded seems straightforward: People don’t want to die (billionaires included). But the how is a bit of a question mark. Perhaps an even scarier question mark is who exactly gets access to immortality if and when it’s unlocked?
READ MORE: Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest bet on living forever [MIT Technology Review]