Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire-turned-Trump delegate who successfully bankrupted Gawker Media, has long been obsessed with anti-aging technologies. He believes people have been conned by “the ideology of the inevitability of the death of every individual,” and has funded startups dedicated to extending the human lifespan. According to Jeff Bercovici of Inc. magazine, Thiel is so afraid of dying that he has begun exploring a novel, and fairly unsettling, technique: Harvesting, and injecting himself with, the blood of younger people.
In an unpublished interview with Bercovici last year, Thiel admitted that he was interested in adding young-to-old blood transfusions to his personal health regimen:
After briefly discussing the pros and cons of caloric restriction, human growth hormone and the diabetes drug metformin, Thiel said this:
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.
I followed up to ask if he meant parabiosis was “really interesting” as a business opportunity or a personal-health treatment. He made it clear he was talking about the latter. “That would be one where it’s more just, do we think the science works? Some of these it’s not clear there’s actually a great company to start around it. ...”
Last month, Gawker noted that the logical endpoint of Thiel’s dystopian world vision could feature an economy in which the wealthy, who wished to live forever, subsist on the blood of the poor, who would die at a normal age.
It turns out that we weren’t that far off the mark. Bercovici also talked to Jesse Karmazin, the founder of Ambrosia LLC, a company in Monterey, California that recently began recruiting volunteers for a clinical trial in which people older than 35 would receive blood plasma injections from people younger than 25. Karmazin told him that one of Thiel’s employees contacted him to discuss the trial after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted approval:
While Ambrosia advertised the study to attract participants, it didn’t seek broader coverage. So Karmazin was somewhat surprised to get a message from Jason Camm, chief medical officer at Thiel Capital, who expressed interest in what the company was doing. ... An osteopath with a background in treating elite athletes, Camm is “Personal Health Director to Peter Thiel...and a number of other prominent Silicon Valley business leaders and investors,” according to his professional profile.
In his interview with Bercovici, Thiel said that he hadn’t actually injected himself with young blood. If you write about Silicon Valley, however, you’ve probably heard rumors to the contrary. In June, for example, Gawker received a tip, which we were unable to verify, claiming 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.” When we asked Thiel if this was true, he did not respond.