There is a hot new startup that has Silicon Valley buzzing right now. The newly formed company is called Altos Labs. And it just launched with an incredible $270 million Series A funding round. This values the company at nearly $1.4 billion. So Altos Labs was basically born a unicorn. That’s unheard of. And it’s all thanks to the company’s primary backers – Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos needs no introduction. As for Milner, he is a Russian tech entrepreneur who made a fortune on a Russian company called Mail.ru in the early 2000s. It was basically Russia’s version of Yahoo. Then Milner made another fortune as an early investor in Facebook about a decade later. Needless to say, both Bezos and Milner are billionaires, and they are the key backers of Altos Labs’ Series A round. Naturally, that raises the question – why are these billionaires investing so heavily in this startup? And the answer is simple.
Altos Labs is working on anti-aging technology. The goal is to extend human life. Bezos and Milner both have way more money than they could ever spend… and they want to use some of it to buy more time. That’s what this is about. And what’s interesting here is that, with its billionaire backers, Altos Labs doesn’t have to worry much about profits. All that matters is results. For this reason, Altos Labs is hiring some of the most prominent scientists in the anti-aging space. The goal is to build an all-star team. The rumor is that Altos is paying some of these people salaries of more than $1 million per year to get them on board. And so far the strategy is paying off…
The team at Altos Labs has made promising progress on reprogramming human cells in the laboratory. In fact, Altos has already demonstrated the ability to reverse the age of human cells by one-half. They did this by extracting cells from an 80-year old. They then applied their anti-aging tech to those cells in a lab and measured the cellular age. The reading suggested that the cells had become the equivalent of forty years old. Amazing.
That said, it is way too early in the process to inject the reprogrammed cells back into the human body, or for that matter to apply a similar therapy in vivo (in the body). Further animal testing will be needed to optimize the approach for safety. So this is absolutely a company we need to track going forward. With a seemingly endless amount of capital available to fund moonshot ideas, there’s a good chance we might see a breakthrough here.
There’s a lot of investment flowing into life-extension technology right now, and I believe we will see some incredible breakthroughs in the coming years. What’s more, this anti-aging technology will be informed by advances in genetic editing and our understanding of how proteins fold as well. That’s largely thanks to DeepMind’s AlphaFold2. When we combine these things with the application of artificial intelligence (AI), we are bound to see something miraculous happen.
Simply put, this confluence of technologies will power anti-aging technology forward. The implications of that may be hard to quantify right now, but the investment potential is easy to envision. Let’s add Altos Labs to our early stage watchlist.
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