Tech visionary Thiel sets out to spark a biotech revolution
By John Carroll
Peter Thiel, an early venture investor in Facebook and FierceMarkets, has handed out a round of grants of up to $350,000 to a slate of 6 startup biotech companies, each of which promises a game-changing approach to medicine. And he’s hoping that handing out checks to these startup dreamers will help ignite some radical thinking on the possibilities of our collective “amazing future.”
The list of radical “visionaries” includes Longevity Biotech, which is working on artificial protein technology to develop potent oral drugs; Arigos Biomedical, which is developing new technology to allow the long-term storage of organs; Immusoft, which is reprogramming human immune cells; Inspirotec, which is working on a low-cost device to gather and identify airborne agents; along with 3Scan and Positron, which are advancing new medical imaging technology.
“In the past, people dreamed of the future as a radically better, more technologically advanced place: You might live for centuries, delegate work to your robots, and take your vacations on the moon,” said Thiel, who established and funds the Thiel Foundation. “Now, many people expect their children to inherit a world worse than today’s. With Breakout Labs, we want to rekindle dreams of an amazing future. That’s why we’re supporting researchers who dream big and want to build a tomorrow in which we all want to live.”
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Thiel set up Breakout Labs to fund early-stage research work, backing teams of radical thinkers working outside traditional academic and industry circles. And he says more companies can earn his backing throughout the year. The new venture is currently focused primarily on the intersection of biology and technology, though Thiel plans to expand the focus as time goes on.