Elixir of youth from Altos Labs – future or biotech pipe dream?
I think most of us sometimes look back nostalgically at photos from years gone by, seeing how much our appearance has transformed. After all, the aging of our body’s cells is a process inherent in human nature. The polemic on the subject was recently started by the startup Altos Labs, and with it Bezos and Milner – some of the richest people on the globe.
As recently reported by the portal businessinsider.com.pl, foreign media have published information that Jeff Bezos has invested in Altos Labs company. This is a startup working on implanting proteins into cells, which is supposed to revitalize them by coordinating their state to one in which they resemble stem cells. Amazon’s CEO has not confirmed these reports, although he has previously invested in similar initiatives. This news gave the company a lot of publicity. A Russian billionaire and a Japanese Nobel Prize winner are also involved in the initiative.
Altos […] – big money!
The Technology Review website confirms that funding is coming from Bezos and his wife, however, not directly, but through a foundation. He also points to the possible circumstances of the company’s creation. Milner’s NGO, the Milky Way Research Foundation has awarded several researchers a three-year salary worth one million dollars a year. The proposals were favorably reviewed by an advisory board that included m.in. Yamanaka and Jennifer Doudna, Nobel Prize winners last year for their joint discovery of CRISPR genome editing. Milner decided to accelerate the research by reorganizing the project into a company under the guidance of former National Cancer Institute coordinator Richard Klausner. Lifespan portal.io revealed that, according to securities filings lined up in California this June, Altos Labs may have already raised more than $270 million! The company, for now, is only registered in Delaware and the UK, but plans to expand its institutes to the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Cambridge and Japan.
Altos Labs has competition?
Science abhors a vacuum, and where there is youth, there is also money for research. Among the companies trying to discover the secret of longevity we can include: Life Biosciences, Turn Biotechnologies, AgeX Therapeutics and Shift Bioscience. Although their research has not been very successful so far. The case is different for one unique Google-branded biotech company, Calico. Lifespan.io reminds that Calico made a detailed report on cell aging and then published a paper on safer cell reprogramming, which may prove useful for future researchers of the topic!
[…] Labs – great minds!
Among the reports there is also a group of scientists who may participate in the whole venture. Geekweek.en writes about Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a Spanish biologist from the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California. The man performed the act of creating the most advanced embryo, curiously and terrifyingly at the same time, which is a hybrid of an ape and a human. In addition to the Spaniard, the team is expected to include Japanese – Shinya Yamanaka. Aging biotechnologist and Nobel laureate in medicine. Lifespan.io also enumerates Steve Horvath, UCLA professor and the creator of the ‘biological clock’, which can precisely measure the ageing process of the human body.
Eternal youth from Altos Labs is possible?
“Although there are many obstacles to overcome, there is great potential” – wrote Shinya Yamanaka in an email to MIT Tech Review, in a way confirming his participation in the project.
Let’s hope the story quoted above doesn’t end up like the Elizabeth Holmes case we discussed earlier.