9 Ultra-Wealthy Individuals Who Aim to Defeat Death

11 June 2020
Bobby Ridge

Business Executives

For the first time in all of history, defeating death from aging and extending healthy lifespans seem to be attainable goals. Based on my research, I think we'll all have the option to choose life extension sometime over the next twenty or thirty years.

Robust technologies are being built all around us. But what you may not know yet is many of them are aimed directly at extending our healthy lifespan far longer than 120 years.

Combinations of gene therapy geroprotectors may increase our maximum lifespan to 150 years [1, 2]. The SENS approach may reverse and prevent aging, along with rejuvenating biological damage, to maintain indefinite lifespans [3]. Nanotechnology may target every cell in the body, fulfilling the true definition of "precision medicine" [4-5]. And we may develop indefinite biostasis technologies [8, 15, 16].

Imagine extending consciousness through direct and indirect, as well as short and long distance, brain-computer interfaces [6-7]. And beyond combatting death from aging, artificial general intelligence could help us decrease crime, mitigate catastrophic risks, and solve many other persistent problems [9-14].

All of this requires a great deal of capital to research the hard science and develop the technology. And I doubt more than a handful of politicians have even considered the possibility that we could defeat aging in the next few decades. So, because we probably can't expect governments to subsidize age reversal and life extension research anytime soon, we'll need to find the necessary capital somewhere else.

Lucky for all of us, quite a few wealthy individuals have been targeting this problem. Below is a list of the ultra-wealthy, along with brief elaborations of their impressive efforts to extend our healthy lifespans. I sincerely hope these individuals motivate other wealthy and non-wealthy individuals to enter the life extension industry, to help us all in the war against death. I introduce to you some of the most important investors of our time.

Martine Rothblatt

Martine Rothblatt

Cropped "Martine Rothblatt" by Andre Chung (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Martine Rothblatt is one of the most impressive individuals our world has ever seen. She is commonly considered to be the richest executive woman in America. And, as of 2019, Forbes set her net worth at $320M [17].

After creating a highly successful company, SiriusXM Satellite Radio [18], Dr. Rothblatt gave it up. She needed to use every valuable second of her time to save her daughter’s life from a rare lung disease, called "pulmonary hypertension" [19].

After Dr. Rothblatt and her team of scientists saved her young daughter’s life, the next logical step was to build what may have been the first life extension biotech company, United Therapeutics [20]. The initial focus of the company was to defeat her daughter’s disease. But shortly after, her passion to save lives extended to everyone. Now she and United Therapeutics build and invest into many robust medical technologies and herald some of the most incredible science that will significantly help in the fight against death.

Dr. Rothblatt noticed most Americans are on the organ transplant list. You can double check on your drivers license whether you have a pink dot. The dot tells doctors you are willing to donate your organs to research.

Sadly, a majority of the organs that have the potential to be transplanted are instead thrown away. That's because they are damaged too much during the dying process.

So, for the past few years, United Therapeutics has been refurbishing discarded lungs. They stream the refurbishing process to transplant surgeons in real time, so the surgeons can provide instructions to the refurbishing doctors. Once the transplant surgeons approve, the refurbishing doctors send the organs.

To cut down on the burning of fossil fuel from the helicopters that transport refurbished organs, Martine invented the first electric helicopter [21]. If that doesn’t sound impressive enough, Martine was one of the first individuals to invest into developing human level AI robots [19].

She also invests in xenotransplantation and 3D bio-printing organs [22]. Recently at a Forbes conference, Dr. Rothblatt stated that, in the 2020s, United Therapeutics will offer viable xenotransplantable human-pig hybrid organs to the public. And in the 2030s, she will disrupt her own xenotransplanting technology by introducing 3D bioprinted organs [23].

Some other big pharma and biotech CEOs would oppress disruptive technologies. But because Martine is a genius businesswoman, she understands that innovation is an easy side to choose. Innovation will inevitably disrupt the archaic. So she might as well make innovation her business model.

Hopefully more biotech and big pharma leaders take notice of Martine and follow her lead. Hopefully their companies aren't disrupted, so they can save more human lives!

Jim Mellon

Jim Mellon is a billionaire British entrepreneur, philanthropist, and investor. His recorded net worth is ~$1.3B [24]. A few years ago, he discovered the life extension industry. And he didn’t waste a second of time before deciding to get involved.

Mr. Mellon has collaborated with researchers like Dr. Aubrey de Grey. He recently brought together an impressive team of researchers at his anti-aging company, Juvenescence [25]. He wrote a book on the promises of health extension [26]. And he launched one of the most awesome annual anti-aging conferences [27].

Mr. Mellon isn’t a passive investor. He doesn’t just throw money at age reversal and life extension research, and then sit back and watch what happens. Instead, he is investing AND getting involved in the movement. He wants to understand and direct the research, so he can play an active role in defeating death.

Mr. Mellon has become a leader in the life extension industry in such a small amount of time. And I'm eager to see what Juvenescence develops in the near and long term!

Dmitry Itskov

A Russian billionaire and media mogul [28], Dmitry Itskov was one of the first to make serious moves in the life extension industry. Like Jim Mellon, Mr. Itskov plans on investing a large sum of his own money AND be directly involved in the development of life extension research.

You can just feel his passion for life extension every time you listen to him discuss it. In 2013, he held a conference, called the "2045 initiative" [29]. Many of the most influential advocates of life extension gathered to provide tutelage, on stage, to an impressive crowd [30-34].

His company is relatively secretive about what they are developing. But, early on, the 2045 initiative shared a great road map to defeating death. I can’t wait to get my first avatar from Mr. Itskov’s company [35]!

Chan Zuckerberg

One of the most impressive couples on our planet, Chan and Mark Zuckerberg recently set out to cure and manage all disease in their child’s lifetime. They are investing most of their Facebook shares into this endeavor via a biotech company, Chan Zuckerberg Biohub [36].

Like the others above, they don't just invest. Dr. Chan is a medical doctor and Mark is a software engineer. Together, they have the potential to play one of the biggest roles in the defeat of death.

Among their first projects is a full cytometric map of the ~200 cell types that make up human bodies. They call this the "Cell Atlas Initiative." Imagine a real-time map of trillions of cells and many, if not all, of their inner workings. They'll likely begin with simple snap shots, but this could still be some of the most valuable data on our planet.

Their other research efforts include an infectious diseases initiative, a technology initiative, and an investigator program. In 2019, they announced their goals and some of their researchers discussed the company [37]. I'm so excited to watch their work.

Osman Kibar

Osman Kibar is an entrepreneur and inventor, with numerous successful biotech companies under his belt. As of 2018, he had a net worth of over $430M [38]. And he has become a power house in the life extension industry with a company called Samumed [39].

Samumed is doing some excellent regenerative medicine and is targeting age-related diseases. Dr. Kibar has taken the bold step of developing therapies that manipulate the Wnt signaling pathway, which not many have had success in manipulating. In 2018, Dr. Kibar presented at Singularity University and hinted at the incredible success that Samumed has already had [40].

Dr. Kibar is a CEO and a scientist. That's a powerful combination. And I'm excited to watch Samumed develop and help us all in the fight against death.

Bryan Johnson

Bryan Johnson

Cropped "Bryan Johnson at Web Summit" by Stephen McCarthy (CC BY 2.0)

Bryan Johnson is an entrepreneur and investor. He has a net worth of over $400M [41]. He's not just spending his money on cars, yachts, fancy clothes, or a couple islands. Instead, he made the impressive choice of dedicating ~$100M into developing brain-computer interface (BCI) technologies at his company, Kernel [42].

After listening to many of his talks, it's easy to understand that he's not playing around. He fully appreciates how fundamental the human brain truly is to our existence.

Our brain creates a simulation of our reality that we all experience in front of us. All the tastes, objects positioned within space, your love for your wife and children, daily stresses, the smell of cheese, your understanding of mathematics: everything has to be simulated by the brain. So the possibilities are astounding, when you really start researching BCI.

From what I understand, Kernel plans on developing BCI tech so we can increase brain health, along with augmenting our intelligence. I hope that Bryan works on extending our consciousness into computers.

Just imagine how incredible that could be to connect our brains to the Internet. What if we could easily comprehend all scholarly peer-reviewed literature, the same way we currently comprehend 1+1=2? Maybe it sounds silly, but I think that's a goal we will achieve eventually. And there's increasing evidence that "eventually" may be a lot sooner than many think.

Imagine combining this great wealth of knowledge in a meaningful way: to augment all our creativity, our love, and our politics. Everything would change.

What if we could each comprehend medicine, economics, synthetic biology, astrophysics, robotics, artificial intelligence, and mathematics? And what if our comprehension included not just primary literature, but also the wide breadth of secondary literature?

What if our minds could traverse the Internet of Things, as if it were merely a single thought? Attempting to imagine all of this, I wonder it it's not like an ant trying to imagine what it's like to be a human.

Mr. Johnson also knows how important it is to engineer a sort of security system for our brains. We wouldn't want our brains hacked using the same technology that enables enhancement. We might not ever be the same after such a horrific event.

Peter Theil

Peter Theil is one of the greatest entrepreneurs of our time. He has developed many impressive companies. And, as of 2020, he had a net worth of $2.3B [43]. It’s great to see his genius and personal money aimed at preventing and reversing the aging process [44].

Mr. Theil's involvement in life extension, so far, can be described as "passionate," at the least. There's a rumor that he employed heterokaryonic parabiosis, regularly injecting young blood in hope of slowing down the aging process. The rumor probably isn't true [45]. But if it is, I imagine he got excited from some of the relatively successful mice studies that reversed some aspects of the aging process [46].

I think the research related to injecting young plasma for age reversal isn't developed enough for confidence in self-experimentation. And there's more promising research related to other anti-aging injections, such as mesenchymal stem cells at the Panama Stem Cell Institute [47].

But Mr. Theil has demonstrated a passion toward life extension. And I imagine we'll be hearing much more about that.

Larry Ellison

Larry Ellison is the founder and CTO of one of the most successful computer companies, Oracle [48]. He has a net worth of $68B. And he was one of the first big investors in anti-aging research.

Mr. Ellison is known for being one of the most ambitious leaders of our time. So just imagine his expertise and passion directed at extending lifespan for everyone.

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is the founder of many impressive companies. And he currently has a net worth of $150B [49]. He is one of the biggest investors in preventing and reversing the aging process. His most recent investment was in Unity Biotechnology [50].

Sadly, Mr. Bezos is not known for being as active in the life extension industry as many of the others discussed above. But, given his net worth, he has clearly learned something about business that most of us haven't. And it would be amazing to see even more of his efforts directed toward life extension!

Other Notable Individuals

Defeat Death

Below is a non-exhaustive list of others that are pushing the life extension movement forward as much as, if not more than, those listed above. All of these impressive individuals, in various ways, are supporting or developing this most salient research.

  • Anthony Atala
  • Aubrey de Grey
  • Ben Goertzel
  • Bill Andrews
  • Bill Gates
  • Craig Venter
  • David Sinclair
  • Elon Musk
  • Eric Drexler
  • George Church
  • Laura Deming
  • Luhan Yang
  • Masayoshi Son
  • Max More
  • Naveen Jain
  • Neil Riordan
  • Peter Diamandis
  • Peter Voss
  • Ray Kurzweil
  • Sergey Young

Conclusion

The combined effort of these individuals may seem like a lot. Globally, trillions of dollars are invested into research to defeat the diseases that inflict us. But it's not enough. Development of treatments is still slow because human biology is extremely complex.

So we need the other 2K billionaires and 14M millionaires around the globe to step up to the plate. We need them to become part of this list of individuals who are applying their resources to defeat death.

Most governments have barely expressed even a hint of interest in reversing aging and defeating death, let alone subsidizing related research. So we can't rely on them for this purpose. We must take it upon ourselves to pursue the hope of giving everyone the option to live indefinitely.

I expect that life extension will continue to become mainstream. And scientists may soon experience a phenomenon that Peter Voss calls "financial escape velocity." It's the idea that people will throw money at life extension science as fast as they can.

Why will people do this? We'll do it because most of us won't want to age and die in an expensive car when there's a realistic alternative. The goal of defeating death is among the most noble goals that our species has ever conceived.

I sincerely hope that, wealthy or not, you'll take the time to learn more about this research. Maybe you can help us all realize life extension. I look forward to living with all of you forever!

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