March 6, 2014

FASTER, PLEASE: A Genetic Entrepreneur Sets His Sights on Aging and Death.

On Tuesday, Dr. Venter announced that he was starting a new company, Human Longevity, which will focus on figuring out how people can live longer and healthier lives.

To do that, the company will build what Dr. Venter says will be the largest human DNA sequencing operation in the world, capable of processing 40,000 human genomes a year.

The huge amount of DNA data will be combined with huge amounts of other data on the health and body composition of the people whose DNA is sequenced, in the hope of gleaning insights into the molecular causes of aging and age-related illnesses like cancer and heart disease.

Slowing aging, if it can be done, could be a way to prevent many diseases, an alternative to treating one disease a time.

“Your age is your No. 1 risk factor for almost every disease, but it’s not a disease itself,” Dr. Venter said in an interview. Still, his company will also work on treating individual diseases of aging.

Well, actually, it is a disease. The FDA just doesn’t recognize it as one.