Jeff Bezos, Mayo Clinic back anti-aging startup Unity Biotechnology for $116 million

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Every once in a while someone in Silicon Valley brings up the possibility of living forever, or at least a really long time, but first we’re going to need to figure out a way to enjoy all those extra years. Unity Biotechnology is a startup focusing on medicines to help us do that by slowing the effects of age-related diseases. And the company announced it has pulled in a whopping $116 million in Series B financing today — some of which came from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Sometimes your body keeps aging cells around longer to help ward off certain cancers, but too much build up of those types of cells leads to other problems as we age. Unity looks for ways to help your body shed older cells causing inflammation and other diseases linked to aging.

So far, Unity’s team has been able to come up with 13 FDA-approved medicines to help remove those types of cells and is cleared to conduct clinical trials on 90 people.

It also announced it would be publishing a study in the journal Science about about its work in treating atherosclerosis.

That type of traction has perked some of the top investors in science and medicince and is one of the larger private financings in biotech history.

But it’s not the first time Bezos has invested in biotech. The Amazon CEO placed his bets on Juno Therapeutics back in 2014, through his venture capital arm Bezos Expeditions. Juno is one of the IPO success stories in the biotech world for its breakthrough discoveries in cancer medicine.

The Scottish-based mutual fund Baillie Gifford, which has also invested in several biotech companies also invested in this round — as did Venrock, ARCH Venture Capital, The Mayo Clinic and WuXi Pharmaceuticals.

The company also announced it would be placing Keith Leonard — the former CEO of KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals — in the role of CEO and that previous CEO and co-founder Nathaniel “Ned” David will now be Unity’s president.

Featured Image: RomanenkoAlexey/Shutterstock

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