Almost every rich person in the world has funded attempts to create anti-aging drugs. This was done by Jeff Bezos and Google founder Larry Page, billionaires Larry Ellison and Peter Thiel. Now Saudi Arabia is taking action – and it is ready to spend more than all its predecessors combined, reports MIT Technology Review.
The royal family of Saudi Arabia founded the non-profit organization Hevolution Foundation. It will spend $1 billion a year on the country’s oil revenues to study the biology of aging and find ways to stay healthy for years to come.
This amount makes the country the biggest sponsor of scientists trying to understand the causes of aging and find ways to slow it down with medication. The fund will be managed by Mehmood Khan, a former endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic and a leading scientist at PepsiCo.
“Our primary goal is to extend the period of healthy lifespan. There is not a bigger medical problem on the planet than this one,” says Khan.
According to him, the fund will provide grants for basic research into the causes of aging, as well as support the development of drugs, including those “treatments that are patent expired or never got commercialized.”
Projects Hevolution has not yet been disclosed, but it became known that they had previously agreed to fund a test of the diabetes drug metformin in several thousand elderly people. The study was known as “the first major test of any drug to postpone aging in humans” but it was previously delayed due to lack of funds.