Immortality has been the most earnest wish of all the kings and pharaohs of the past. The same is still relevant when it comes to the kings and pharaohs of today. The super-wealthy. Well, what is surprising in a not very surprising manner is that a shadowy company in Silicon Valley dedicated to anti-ageing has received a huge fund.
The lab in question here is the Altos lab luring in a couple of big names like Jeff Bezos and Yuri Milner as its investors. The labs are also set to rope in top scientists worldwide by offering them huge salaries and a free hand over the research.
One of the various experts aboard Altos is Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a California biologist at La Jolla Salk Institute. In 2017 he started working on the creation of a human/pig chimaera. Also on the Altos scientific advisory board is Shangya Yamanaka, a scientist and Nobel Prize winner for cell reversal aging.
“Although there are many hurdles to overcome, there is huge potential,” said Yamanaka to MIT Technology Review.
Biological reprogramming is a rejuvenation of cells that can be an essential factor for immortality. Although there are other reprogramming companies, none of them has the support that Altos Labs today has.
It is not unusual that the wealthy have a strong interest in living as long as possible. “No amount of money has ever bought a second of time,” as the saying goes. However, it is unclear what Altos Lab’s ultimate goal is – and how they intend to achieve it.
According to MIT Technology Review, Altos’ researchers will not have defined targets or even timelines. Instead, the corporation would strive to develop “great science.”
“The aim is to understand rejuvenation,” said Manuel Serrano, a researcher formerly at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine in Spain. Like some of his peers, Serrano was drawn to Altos after they offered to pay him five to ten times what he currently earns. “I would say the idea of having revenue in the future is there, but it’s not the immediate goal.”
There’s still some mystery around Altos Labs. The reason it is financed appears quite obvious: people don’t want to die. But how, though? Another unsettling aspect is who will have access to immortality after it has been unlocked.