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elderly white hands

“Who wants to live forever?” The immortal words of Freddie Mercury blast from the speakers as blue lights swivel around the room and a smoky mist floats up from the stage in front of me. If the audience is anything to go by, the answer to his question is: the mega rich.

I’d come to Gstaad, a swanky ski-resort town in the Swiss Alps, to attend the first in-person Longevity Investors Conference. Over the two-day event, scientists and biotech founders made the case for various approaches to prolonging the number of years we might spend in good health. And the majority of them were trying to win over deep-pocketed investors.

There were 150 people at this meeting, and its organizers told me that 120 of them were investors with millions or even billions of dollars at their disposal—and at least a million dollars ready to pump into a longevity project. Plenty of would-be attendees were denied a $4,500 ticket because they didn’t meet this criterion, an event co-organizer tells me.

The conference was unlike any academic meeting I’ve ever attended... see more