• Staff

The Rich Fascination with Living Forever: How Biotech Cash In On Hype

Individuals aged 50 and above have plenty to anticipate in the coming years, particularly with respect to anti-aging research. Although death remains undefeatable, billions of dollars in funding, especially from the ultra-wealthy in Silicon Valley, have gone into making sure that people do not age as fast or poorly as our parents.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel have been at the forefront of the anti-aging research and innovation buzz in recent years. Both have invested in South San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology, a firm whose mission is to “extend human healthspan, the period in one’s life unburdened by the disease of aging.”

Google Inc. has also shown interest in the “living forever idea” through its aging research company Calico which was established in 2013.

There is also a long list of other companies fighting against aging, including BioViva, Life Biosciences, AgeX, Juvenescence, BioAge, The Longevity Fund, and the Methuselah Foundation.

“Science fiction has become science,” said Juvenescence CEO Greg Bailey about the company's completing its $100 million series B round of financing in August 2019. "I think the world is going to be shocked," he said in an interview. The company has raised more than $165 million in less than three years to fund longevity projects with the lofty objective of extending human lifespans to 150 years.

"Whenever you meet a fundamental human need, there is a market," explained Michael West, a gerontologist, and CEO of AgeX Therapeutics. "And in this case, the market for age-related disease and aging is a trillion-dollar market."

Age X is studying stem cells for tissue and organ rejuvenation and hopes to “unlock cellular immortality and regenerative capacity to reverse age-related changes in the body.”

“Stem cells are programmed to die. The cells AgeX are creating are stem cells we could give to you, and they could bind to your heart and fix your heart. They are creating cell lines from a single cell of tissue from IVF clinics. These are all living embryonic cells.” Said Bailey.

Based on a projection by Endpoint News, the anti-aging market is expected to balloon to $610 billion by 2025.