Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
7 Sep 2021
1:18 pm

Billionaire Jeff Bezos backs anti-ageing bio-tech startup

Citizen Reporter

A new bio-tech startup aimed at reversing ageing has attracted deep-pocketed funders, chief among them the founder of Amazon.

Jeff Bezos. Picture: AFP/Mandel Ngan

What does a man who has everything and all the money in the world do when he has realised his goals? He tries to cheat death.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is on a quest to find the elixir of life.

A new startup that aims to reverse ageing has secured funding from the billionaire.

Altos Labs has raised at least $270 million (R3.86 billion) to develop biological reprogramming technology.

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Jeff Bezos backs reverse aging biotech start-up
Quest for immortality Picture. iStock

Scientists say it’s a way to rejuvenate cells that could be extended to revitalise entire animal bodies – with the ultimate goal of prolonging human life.

The company, backed by Bezos and billionaire Yuri Milner, plans to open a lab in the UK.

Milner is an Israeli science and technology investor and philanthropist.

According to MIT Review, the new company will establish several institutes in various places including the Bay Area, San Diego, Cambridge, UK and Japan.

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They’re recruiting a large cadre of highly paid university scientists with the promise that they can research how cells age and how to reverse that process.

Among the scientists said to be joining Altos are Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a Spanish biologist at the Salk Institute, in La Jolla, California.

Can we reverse aging entirely? Picture. iStock

Belmonte won notoriety for research mixing human and monkey embryos, and predicted that human lifespans could be increased by 50 years. 

Our obsession with anti-ageing has translated to a billion-dollar industry. In 2020, the global anti-ageing market was estimated to be worth about $58.5 billion (R838 billion).

Historically, in ancient Egypt pharaohs ordered slaves to build the pyramids to help them achieve immortality.

The first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, also spent his years in search for the elusive elixir of life.

Jeff Bezos searches for the elixir of life
How do we bottle immortality? Jeff Bezos is on a quest to find the elusive elixir of life. Picture: iStock

But as history progressed, the desire to prolong life moved away from religion and magic.

In the modern age, researchers are looking at science to radically extend life.

But the quest for immortality is not without ethical dilemmas. Conversations about overpopulation, inequality and the right to die, are hot topics of contention in the quest to become immortal.

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