Peter Thiel Invests in 'Revolutionary' Biotech Start-ups
In his continuing quest for immortality, the entrepreneur's Breakout Labs is funding six companies looking to revolutionize science and medicine.
Peter Thiel has not been shy about his quest for immortality.
Now the notoriously eccentric entrepreneur is putting more money where his mouth is. Thiel’s Breakout Labs—an arm of the Thiel Foundation that provides seed funding for “revolutionary” scientific research—announced today it is investing up to $350,000 in six biotech companies, some of which aim to slow (or possibly eliminate) the human aging process.
The six funding recipients include:
- Immusoft is studying ways to “re-program human immune cells to produce therapeutics in the body,” according to a Breakout Labs press release.
- Longevity Biotech is developing “hybridtides,” synthetic protein molecules that are more resistant to enzyme breakdown than traditional biologic ones.
- Positron Dynamics poises to create positrons—the subatomic antiparticle of an electron—that can be used in medical imaging and propelling spacecrafts.
Lindy Fishburne, senior vice president of the Thiel Foundation and executive director of Breakout Labs, said that the money is meant to help radical scientific companies fund preliminary research. Venture capitalists are typically hesitant to invest in such high-risk research, she said. By giving them seed funding, Breakout Labs hopes to catalyze these ventures’ modeling, prototyping, and experiments–and turn them into more attractive investment options.
Breakout Labs is not receiving equity from these companies in exchange for the money given. Rather, the companies—if successful—must commit to putting a portion of their profits back into the fund, thus promoting further scientific development.
Scott Shandler, founder and CEO of Longevity Biotech, said the funding the Breakout Labs funding will help his company develop oral treatments for pulmonary hypertension and metabolic diseases such as diabetes. Shandler described hypertides as a technology platform that will give pharmaceutical companies a new way to treat various ailments.
“With Breakout Labs, we want to rekindle dreams of an amazing future,” Thiel said in the press release. “That’s why we’re supporting researchers who dream big and want to build a tomorrow in which we all want to live.” –John McDermott
Photo via Suzie Katz.