VC vampire: Peter Thiel wants to live forever
And he'll buy your blood to do so, as long as you're young
Just when you thought Peter Thiel couldn't become any more of a megalomaniac, the billionaire VC proves you wrong.
The man from Silicon Valley who supports Donald Trump, and who funded Hulk Hogan's sex tape legal saga to hurt the publication that widely outed him, has gone full rich-person-crazy and decided that he needs to live forever.
It's been known for a while that Thiel's own start-up funding company has shown unusual interest in age-defying technologies. Particularly eyebrow-raising was the millions of dollars provided to Aubrey de Grey through his SENS Research Foundation, which can most charitably be described as optimistic.
De Grey edits his own journal called Rejuvenation Research and has written books about how humans may be able to live indefinitely. Having graduated with a degree in computer science, he got a PhD in biology and came up with a theory that if it were possible to prevent damage to mitochondrial DNA, you could hugely expand people's lifespans. Experts tend to disagree rather strongly, but his theory is "not demonstrably wrong," according to MIT's Technology Review.
That was enough for Thiel, who has repeatedly railed against people's acceptance of death as inevitable and believes that we can "cure" it with sufficient technological advances. It's not been a one-off claim either – interviewers with Thiel going back years have been surprised to note that he keeps bringing up his plans to defeat death.
Of course when you have billions in the bank thanks to being an early investor in both PayPal and Facebook, what's the harm in dreaming and throwing some of that money into pipedreams? Every billionaire is a little eccentric.
Far from finding technological solutions to aging, it seems that Thiel's obsession has turned toward more immediate solutions: namely, sucking the blood out of young people and injecting it into old people, a practice known officially as "parabiosis," but most commonly associated with, you know, vampires.
There is actually a clinical trial taking place in California, run by a company called Ambrosia, called "Young Donor Plasma Transfusion and Age-Related Biomarkers." And it does exactly what you imagine that means: takes blood from people under 25 and injects it into people over 35 and then observes them for a range of indicators for aging.
And guess who Ambrosia received a phone call from? That's right, Peter Thiel. Or, more accurately, the chief medical officer at Thiel Capital, Jason Camm, who is also Thiel's personal doctor.
Amazingly, according to one reporter – Jeff Bercovici at Inc – Thiel all but admitted that he had already injected himself with the blood of a young person, while also noting that "there's no FDA approval needed because it's just blood transfusions."
Fortunately for the young people of California, almost exactly halfway between his home in San Francisco and the medical trials taking place in Monterey lies the town of Gilroy, the self-proclaimed "Garlic Capital of the World" thanks to its huge harvest of the pungent onion each year. It seems that even god isn't sure about Peter Thiel. ®
Sponsored: Becoming a Pragmatic Security Leader