Meet Altos Labs, Silicon Valley’s Last Wild Bet on Eternal Life


In the year 2021, however, a new plan emerged to accelerate research by turning the idea into a well-funded venture that is now Altos. This effort took shape under the leadership of Richard Klausner, former head of the National Cancer Institute and now entrepreneur. Klausner, who has already helped start businesses like Juno Therapeutics and cancer screening society Grail, is known to organize large and lucrative financial bets on new biotechnologies.

According to a UK incorporation dossier for Altos Labs, Klausner is the CEO of the new company. Klausner did not respond to attempts to contact him by email and phone. Like Milner, he also lives in Los Altos Hills.

A number of startups are pursuing reprogramming technologies, including Life Biosciences, Turn Biotechnologies, AgeX Therapeutics and Shift Bioscience in the UK, although these efforts have yet to lead to any treatments tested on people in clinical trials.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars are being raised by investors to invest in reprogramming, aimed specifically at rejuvenating parts or the entire human body,” said David Sinclair, a researcher at Harvard University who last December. reported restore sight to mice using the technique.

Sinclair describes the estate as “nascent” but believes it has a unique promise. “What else can you do to reverse the age of the body? ” he says. “In my lab, we pig out major organs and tissues, such as skin, muscles and brain, to see which ones we can rejuvenate. Sinclair says he’s not involved with Altos, but he spoke at the 2020 reunion and asked Milky Way for an award.

A scientific enterprise

Altos has yet to make an official announcement, but it was incorporated in Delaware this year and a securities disclosure filed in California in June says the company has raised at least $ 270 million, according to Will Gornall, professor of business school at the University of British Columbia that reviewed the document. In addition to Bezos and Milner, the company may have other wealthy tech and venture capitalists as investors.

Other hires made by Altos include Peter Walter, whose laboratory at the University of California at San Francisco is the source of a molecule that shows remarkable effects on memory. Wolf Reik, a reprogramming specialist who recently resigned as director of the Babraham Institute in the UK after the center noted he held a position “with another research organization” now believed to be Altos. Walter and Reik declined to comment.

At least initially, Altos will fund researchers with no immediate expectation of products or income. According to a person informed by Klausner and Milner, the initial result of the business will be “great science.”

Altos attracts college professors by offering sports stars salaries of $ 1 million a year or more, plus equity, as well as the freedom to apply for grants. A researcher who confirmed he accepted a job offer from Altos, Manuel Serrano of the Biomedicine Research Institute in Barcelona, ​​Spain, said the company would pay him five to ten times what he currently earns. .

“The philosophy of Altos Labs is to do research driven by curiosity. This is what I know how to do and what I love to do, ”says Serrano, who is considering moving to Cambridge, UK to join an Altos facility there. “In this case, through a private company, we have the freedom to be daring and to explore. This way he will rejuvenate me.

Any treatment for a major disease of aging could be worth billions, but Altos isn’t going to make the money in the first place. “The goal is to understand rejuvenation,” says Serrano. “I would say that the idea of ​​having income in the future is there, but it is not the immediate objective.”



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