After launching the most successful e-commerce site on the planet and then leaving the planet for a trip to the edge of space, what can Jeff Bezos do for an encore?
It appears that his latest endeavor involves turning back the hands of time — or, at least, investing in a biotechnology company researching how to reverse the aging process.
What Happened: According to an MIT Technology Review article citing unnamed “people familiar with the plans,” the Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN founder and former CEO is investing in Altos Labs, a Silicon Valley startup focused on biological reprogramming technology.
Altos Labs was incorporated in Delaware earlier this year and a securities disclosure filed in California in June stated the company has already raised approximately $270 million. Bezos’ investment stake is not known, and he is joined in this venture by Yuri Milner, the Russian-Israeli venture capitalist and former chairman of the Mail Ru Group Ltd MLRYY Internet company. Their investment funds are reportedly being used to recruit university professors to join the company’s research and development team with $1 million salaries.
What To Expect: According to the Journal of Biological Engineering, Altos Labs’ technology, also known as direct cell reprogramming or transdifferentiation, allows for the “reprogramming of one somatic cell type directly into another, without the need to transition through an induced pluripotent state,” which can be used in the treatment of injuries or diseases. This endeavor can expand the regenerative medicine fields, including the healthier prolonging of human life.
Altos is one of several startups in this sector. Others include Life Biosciences, Turn Biotechnologies, AgeX Therapeutics, Shift Bioscience and Unity Biotechnology — Bezos previously invested an undisclosed sum in the latter — but none of these companies have yet to announce treatments involving clinical trials with human subjects.
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