Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly invested in a newly-formed startup aimed at reversing the process of biological ageing.
Altos Labs, founded earlier this year by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, has already hired several leading longevity scientists in order to develop a radical form of biological reprogramming technology that would rejuvenate cells and allow humans to live up to 50 years longer.
Mr Bezos, who turned 57 this year, is among the company’s early investors, according to insiders speaking to MIT Technology Review.
The Amazon founder is currently the world’s richest person with an estimated net worth of $201 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
“The philosophy of Altos Labs is to do curiosity-driven research. This is what I know how to do and love to do,” Altos researcher Manuel Serrano told Technology Review.
“In this case, through a private company, we have the freedom to be bold and explore… The aim is to understand rejuvenation. I would say the idea of having revenue in the future is there, but it’s not the immediate goal.”
Dr Serrano’s previous research includes genetically engineering mice to reverse their biological age. The experiments were successful in reverting the mice’s cells to an embryonic stage but they all developed tumours.
Other researchers involved in the project include joint Nobel Prize-winning Shinya Yamanaka, who developed the breakthrough reprogramming technique.
“Although there are many hurdles to overcome, there is huge potential,” Dr Yamanaka said.
Mr Bezos previously invested in Unity Biotechnology, an anti-ageing company, and stepped down from his role as CEO of Amazon in July to focus on “other passions”.
In a resignation letter to Amazon employees in February, he wrote: “I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organisations can have.”
Mr Bezos’ investment office Bezos Expeditions did not reply to a request for comment about the venture.
via The Independent