Investing in the fountain of youth

February 12, 2012 | Source: CNBC
Methuselah Foundation

(Credit: Methuselah Foundation)

A new breed of biotech start-ups, scientists, and prominent investors are beginning to tackle prevention of agng.

Peter Thiel gave Cambridge anti-aging researcher Aubrey de Grey $3.5 million under the auspices of the Methuselah Foundation, a non-profit that awards scientists who are working on life-extension therapies.

Thiel and his partners at Founders Fund also invested $500,000 in Halcyon Molecular, a biotech start-up whose founder has a “dream to create a world free from cancer and aging.”

Proteus Venture Partners calls regenerative medicine and anti-aging the “Internet of healthcare,” meaning it’s poised for some historic investment boom.  Proteus says the current market for regenerative medicine is about $1.6 billion, and may surge to about $20 billion in 2025. The company also notes that there are about 400 regenerative products on the market today, and 600 more in development.

In May, H.R. 1862: Regenerative Medicine Promotion Act of 2011 was introduced into Congress, receiving cross-party support. The bill aims to make it easier for both researchers and private biotech companies to raise funding for research.