Anti-aging drugs become a new battlefield for AI. Science and business leaders are betting heavily and are expected to hit the market within five years.

a brown bottle sitting on top of a white table

As the AI war led by ChatGPT is raging, the next battlefield in the tech industry has quietly begun. Several American tech company tycoons recently invested billions of dollars in anti-aging drugs (Senolytics), which are expected to hit the market as early as 2028. Anti-aging drugs are hailed as the most important medical achievement since the birth of antibiotics.

Tech company tycoons invest billions

While seeking the fountain of youth may be a movie plot, anti-aging drugs have become a new favorite investment of American tech tycoons. According to the Daily Mail, 37-year-old OpenAI CEO Sam Altman recently invested $180 million in “Retro BioSciences,” a biotech start-up aimed at extending human life by ten years. Other tech tycoons are also following suit. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has invested $300 million in “Altos Labs,” a research lab focusing on anti-aging technology.

PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel has also invested in the “Methuselah Foundation,” which supports research on anti-aging start-ups and related research projects. The foundation aims to enable humans to “live to 90 like they’re 50” by 2030. The name “Methuselah” in the foundation’s name refers to Adam’s seventh-generation descendant in the Bible, who was said to have lived for 969 years.

Drug principles similar to cancer treatment

Andrew Steele, a British scientist who has published the book “Ageless: The new science of getting older without getting old,” said that with these tycoons pouring in large sums of money, anti-aging drugs are expected to hit the market within five years. He pointed out that existing drugs such as metformin, which is used to treat diabetes, have the potential to be transformed into anti-aging drugs in a very short time. “I believe this is the biggest change since the emergence of antibiotics,” he said. He also pointed out that “these savvy businessmen realize that this invention, which is related to everyone, has huge market potential.”

Anti-aging technology refers to the removal of senescent cells in the human body. A 2016 study found that removing senescent cells from mice can make them more active and extend their lifespan. One treatment plan is similar to cancer-targeted therapy, combining the chemotherapy drug dasatinib with quercetin found in vegetables to remove senescent cells from the body. However, research in this field faces many challenges, such as whether healthy cells in healthy tissues will also be killed during the treatment, making it technically difficult.

Volatility in anti-aging concept stocks

According to statistics from the World Health Organization, about 100,000 people worldwide die every day from aging-related diseases. Although aging does not directly cause death, elderly people face many deadly risks, such as Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and heart disease.

Currently, there are 20 to 30 companies researching anti-aging drugs, and many anti-aging research-based listed companies in the US stock market, such as Athersys (ATHX), Lineage Cell Therapeutics (LCTX), Unity Biotechnology (UBX), etc. However, like many start-ups, these companies are not large in size, lack profitability, and can cause significant stock price fluctuations with market news. For example, Athersys’ stock price over the past year has ranged from a high of $19.5 to a low of $0.5. If you want to be ahead of the curve like tech tycoons, do your homework when picking stocks.


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