Jeff Bezos, the former CEO of Amazon, has been exploring space for humanity’s future, but now, the world’s wealthiest man is also attempting to prolong humanity’s longevity on Earth. Enter Altos Labs, a biological reprogramming technology business that is actively investigating several technologies that could aid in the reversal of the aging process. According to MIT Technology Review, the company is attracting high-profile investors like Amazon ex-CEO Jeff Bezos and Russian-Israeli billionaire Yuri Milner. However, this isn’t the first time Bezos has done something like that. The billionaire has previously invested in anti-aging research in 2018, particularly in Unity Technologies, a biotech business in San Francisco that hopes to produce anti-aging medications.
Altos Labs has raised about $270 million (£231 million) to develop biological reprogramming technology, a process of ‘instructing cells’ or introducing elements that allow cells to revert to a newer embryonic stage, extending human life. The mysterious firm is hiring researchers to study how cells age and researching ways to halt the aging process to slow down tissue aging. Altos aims to pay scientists $1 million salaries, fund researchers with no immediate expectation of goods or earnings, at least initially, with the only purpose of pursuing “great science,” and plans to open many institutions in locations such as the San Diego, Cambridge, Bay Area, United Kingdom, and Japan. Any anti-aging medication that the researchers devise would be worth billions. In contrast to Altos, Calico, a research and development company in California, has a reprogramming lab and published its first preprint on the subject earlier this year.
Japanese researcher Shinya Yamanaka, who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 2012, will serve on the company’s scientific advisory board as an unpaid senior scientist. He discovered that with the addition of four protein cells, they could program cells to revert to a primitive condition similar to embryonic stem cells. Spanish scientist Carlos Izpisua Belmonte, who might join Altos, extended these concepts to proper living mice, achieving evidence of age reversal and coining the name “elixir of life” to describe it. He predicted that human life could be extended by a maximum of 50 years.
Many of the world’s wealthiest digital entrepreneurs have invested in pursuing immortality and reverse aging, including Google co-founder Larry Page, who helped start Calico Labs, a longevity firm striving for immortality. Bezos also owns stakes in many cellular research businesses, including Denali Therapeutics, Nautilus Biotechnology, Sana Biotechnology, and Juno Therapeutics (now part of Bristol Myers Squibb).
Written by: Mishaal Muzaffar
Reporter: Imaaz Nadeem