“Longevity Startup” Challenges Death

A bold proposition: by 2050, a 70-year-old will look and feel as if he were 50.

That’s exactly the gamble 35-year-old James Pyer is taking, creating the “longevity startup Cambrian Biopharma,” the Times of London reports.

“In our entire 100,000-plus year history as a species, only for about 75 years have these diseases of aging been major predators of humanity,” he told the paper. “We’re quickly targeting our top predators – diseases [of aging] – and figuring out how to defeat them.”

A stem cell researcher who founded his startup with psychedelic-loving German billionaire Christian Angermeier, Peier believes that aging is a disease that people can fight with pharmaceuticals. He first plans to prove this by identifying disorders and diseases that mimic aging, such as those that cause loss of muscle mass, and then to partner with researchers studying drugs for these diseases.

Then, by setting up companies to sell drugs related to the diseases identified, Payer wants to expand research on these drugs for use in anti-aging, eventually gaining government approval for these indications.

While the idea may seem galactic at first glance, the venture capital world is taking note. Last month, Cambrian Biopharma successfully raised $100 million from a “visionary group of investors,” as Payer said in a press release.

As the Times notes, some Silicon Valley people have already started taking metformin, a generic diabetes drug used to control blood sugar levels.

Although several preliminary studies have shown that metformin has anti-aging properties, it has not been widely studied because “aging” is not considered a disease by any government agency. However, an anonymous “visionary” has already shelled out half of the $70 million to fund proper human trials of metformin as a longevity drug.

All in all, this is another attempt by start-ups to try to cheat death. If they succeed, it will change the entire course of human history, for better or worse, but whether that goal is possible is anyone’s guess.

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