Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s latest bet on immortality

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People familiar with the formation process of Altos said that Milner’s initial interest in reprogramming was for charitable purposes. After the meeting at his home, a non-profit organization called the Galaxy Research Foundation sponsored by Milner provided several longevity researchers with a three-year grant of $1 million per year. An advisory board including Yamanaka and Jennifer Doudna considered these proposals. She won the Breakthrough Award in 2015 and later won the Nobel Prize in 2020 for her co-discovery of CRISPR genome editing.

However, at some point in 2021, a new plan emerged to make research progress faster by transforming this idea into a well-funded company, now Altos. This effort was formed under the guidance of Richard Klausner, who was once the head of the National Cancer Institute and is now an entrepreneur.Klausner, who helped start companies such as Juno Therapy And cancer detection company Holy grail, Is known for organizing large and profitable financial bets on new biotechnology.

According to Altos Labs’ registration in the UK, Klausner is the CEO of the new company. Klausner did not respond to attempts to contact him via email and phone. Like Milner, he also lives in Los Altos Mountains.

Many start-ups are seeking reprogramming technologies, including Life Biosciences, Turn Biotechnologies, AgeX Therapeutics and Shift Bioscience in the United Kingdom, although these efforts have not yet led to any treatments for humans in clinical trials.

In December last year, Harvard University researcher David Sinclair said: “Investors raised hundreds of millions of dollars for reprogramming, specifically to rejuvenate part or all of the human body.” Report Use this technique to restore the eyesight of mice.

Sinclair describes the field as a “new birth”, but believes it has unique prospects. “What else can you do to reverse the age of your body?” he said. “In my lab, we are sketching out major organs and tissues, such as skin, muscles, and brain-to see which ones we can rejuvenate.” Sinclair said he was not involved in Altos, but he did at the 2020 conference Speaking on and applied for the galaxy award.

Science career

According to Will Gornall, a professor at the American University Business School, Altos has not yet issued an official announcement, but it has been incorporated in Delaware this year. Securities disclosures filed in California in June show that the company has raised At least US$270 million. British Columbia reviewed the document. In addition to Bezos and Milner, the company may have other wealthy tech figures and venture capitalists as investors.

Other employees hired by Altos include Peter Walter, who developed a molecule that has a significant effect on memory in his laboratory at the University of California, San Francisco. Joining is Wolf Reik, a reprogramming expert, who recently resigned from his position as the director of the Babbraham Institute in the United Kingdom. Said He worked in “another research institution” and is now considered Altos. Walter and Rick declined to comment.

At least initially, Altos will fund researchers who have no direct expectations for products or income. According to a person familiar with Klausner and Milner, the company’s initial output will be “great science.”

Altos attracts university professors by offering sports star salaries of $1 million or more per year, plus equity, and avoiding the hassle of applying for grants. Manuel Serrano of the Institute of Biomedical Research in Barcelona, ​​Spain, confirmed that he accepted the job offer from Altos. He said the company will pay 5 to 10 times his current income.

“Altos Labs’ philosophy is to conduct curiosity-driven research. This is what I know how to do and love to do,” said Serrano, who plans to move to Cambridge, England to join the Altos factory there. “In this case, through a private company, we are free to explore boldly. In this way, it will rejuvenate me.”

Any major disease that treats aging may be worth billions of dollars, but Altos did not expect to make money in the first place. “The purpose is to understand rejuvenation,” Serrano said. “I would say that the idea of ​​income in the future exists, but this is not a near-term goal.”



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