Follow the money: Billionaires (except Elon Musk) investing fortunes in longevity

Not that we need any further proof that longevity is a red-hot investment category, but here’s another article tracking the investments of billionaires in anti-aging research and technology. It’s always interesting to keep tabs on what they’re doing.

Jeff Bezos has reportedly made “an investment in Altos Labs, a biotech startup focused on “cellular rejuvenation programming to restore cell health and resilience, with the goal of reversing disease to transform medicine.”

Bezos and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel “have also both invested in Unity Biotechnology, a South San Francisco-based company that researches ‘senescent cells,’ which stop dividing in humans as they age. The idea, according to the company’s website, is to develop ;transformative medicines to slow, halt, or reserve diseases of aging.’”

Other notables:

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife, Priscilla Chan, co-founded of The Breakthrough Prize, annually awarding $3 million to scientists who make “transformative advances toward understanding living systems and extending human life.”

Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison has given at least $370 million to anti-aging research, while Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergei Brin helped launch Calico, a biotech startup researching age-related diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

There are two interesting nay-sayers in the mix.

Elon Musk apparently doesn’t like the whole anti-aging push. The article quotes him as saying, “I don’t think we should try to have people live for a really long time, It would cause asphyxiation of society because the truth is, most people don’t change their mind. They just die. So if they don’t die, we will be stuck with old ideas and society wouldn’t advance.”

Then there’s bioethicist and university professor Christopher Wareham, who worries that longevity “could exacerbate all the kinds of existing inequalities.” The billionaires would have even longer lives to accumulate even more wealth.”

That argument lies outside our scope here, but it seems obvious that the torrent of investment dollars into anti-aging and longevity is not going to slow down any time soon. And although we can’t predict exactly which discoveries will pay off when, and how quickly they will be brought to the market, it’s certain that increased longevity — with both its benefits and its downsides — is the future.

(Photo credit: Phonogphans 5922 at iStock by Getty)

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