(Economist) Altos Labs–A $3bn bet on finding the fountain of youth

Startups come and startups go. But few startups start with $3bn in the bank. Yet that is the fortunate position in which Altos Labs finds itself. Though preparations for the launch of what must surely be a candidate for the title of “Best financed startup in history” have been rumoured for months, the firm formally announced itself, and its modus operandi, on January 19th. And, even at $3bn, its proposed product might be thought cheap at the price. For the alchemy its founders, Rick Klausner, Hans Bishop and Yuri Milner, hope one day to offer the world is an elixir of life.

Others have tried this in the past. In 2013 an outfit called Calico Life Sciences was set up under the aegis of Google (now Alphabet), with Larry Page, one of that firm’s founders, as an interested party. It has yet to generate a product. In the same year Craig Venter, who ran a private version of the human genome project, and Peter Diamandis, who started the X Prize Foundation, got together to launch Human Longevity, though they subsequently fell out. That company, too, has gone quiet. And there are a string of other hopefuls in the field, many with billionaires like Dr Milner and Mr Page lurking in the background. Indeed, there are rumours, which Altos will not confirm, that Jeff Bezos is one of its investors—for the prolongation of life is a field that seems particularly attractive to the man (and it usually is a man) who otherwise has everything.

Read it all (registration).


Posted in Anthropology, Corporations/Corporate Life, Science & Technology