How well do you know Peter Thiel? Co-founder of PayPal. First outside investor in Facebook. Gay Republican. Net worth around $2.8 billion. If you’re under 25, he wants your blood so he can live forever. Wait, what?
A year-old interview with Inc.com’s Jeff Bercovici has finally been published and in it, Thiel reveals that his fear of death has driven him to the practice of parabiosis.
I’m looking into parabiosis stuff where they [injected] the young blood into older mice and they found that had a massive rejuvenating effect. … I think there are a lot of these things that have been strangely underexplored.
Thiel coyly refers to rodent tests conducted decades ago, but human testing has been going on for some time in China and Korea and U.S. companies are belatedly getting into the game. One such company is Ambrosia, located in Monterey, California, not far from Thiel’s San Francisco home base. Coincidence? Hardly.
Ambrosia recently received FDA approval for human trials. For $8,000, a participant over the age of 35 can receive regular transfusions of blood plasma from people under 25. Eight thousand dollars is a drop of blood in the bucket for someone like Thiel. He wants more.
Jesse Karmazin, the founder of Ambrosia LLC, revealed that one of his employees was contacted by Jason Camm, chief medical officer at Thiel Capital and self-described “Personal Health Director to Peter Thiel ... and a number of other prominent Silicon Valley business leaders and investors.” These Silicon Valley “leaders and investors” – lead by Thiel - are rumored to be obsessed with “life extension” and have the financial means to attempt to buy immortality.
Gawker (a company successfully sued by Hulk Hogan/Terry Bollea whose legal fees were paid for by Thiel) says it has received unverified information that Thiel “spends $40,000 per quarter to get an infusion of blood from an 18-year-old based on research conducted at Stanford on extending the lives of mice.”
Is this legal? (A better question might be: do billionaires follow any laws?) The Food and Drug Administration "regulates the collection and manufacture of blood and blood components to help protect the health of the blood donor and to ensure the safety, purity and potency of the blood product." Most laboratories needing blood get it from non-profit blood banks supplied by donors. If Ambrosia wants to be a supplier to Silicon valley billionaires like Thiel looking for lots of young blood, it will probably have to begin buying blood supplies, driving up the cost of immortality.
Thiel has invested in a number of biotech start-ups and will have his body cryogenically preserved if he dies before he gets his steady supply of young blood. When it comes to death, Thiel has this philosophy:
You can accept it, you can deny it, or you can fight it. I think our society is dominated by people who are into denial or acceptance, and I prefer to fight it.
Or buy it off.