Michael Antonov: longevity is all about tackling true unknowns

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The Co-founder of Formic Ventures is using logic and innovation to drive the longevity sector forward.

Michael Antonov is a serial entrepreneur and philanthropist who is passionate about challenging the problem of aging. From Co-founder and CTO of Scaleform, a user interface software company, whose product is embedded into hundreds of computer, console and mobile games, Antonov went on to co-found Oculus, where as Chief Software Architect, he helped revive the virtual reality industry. Oculus was acquired by Facebook, and Antonov has moved on to found Formic Ventures, a diversified VC that makes early-stage investments in biotech start-ups.

Longevity.Technology: Whether it’s debugging biology, or applying rigorous logic to decide on an intervention, Michael Antonov takes an analytical approach to decision making, but his philosophy is broader than that. Committed to innovation and to reinvention, his VC Formic is all about providing people with the right tools to leverage technology, and by doing so, try to expand human lifespan and accelerate the development of human progress by fighting entropy itself.

Check out our fascinating interview with Michael Antonov, in which we find out more about applying software logic to challenge aging, the appeal of cellular reprogramming and understanding the spin when investing in supplements.

Michael Antonov…

Getting into longevity

“My mind is analytical – so I wondered ‘what is the most exciting, impactful thing I could do?’ I felt we’re all growing older, so where is the technology of aging? How well do we understand the biochemistry of us as humans? I took some classes, was inspired by the genomics revolution and it is fascinating how are bodies are machines. Humans try to better ourselves, but we reach the point where we start to fall apart. It’s a technical problem, but in software, we can see the instructions, but tackling biology is a multidimensional problem with many more true unknowns.”

Formic VC’s view on longevity:

“Longevity is tied to pathways of aging for us, but as a fund, we also invest in biotechnology. The idea that, if you can accelerate science in general – the progress and the iteration cycle – then you can actually move longevity forward. That also makes it more diversified from a strategic point of view – technology can get to market quicker than a drug and can enable multiple therapies to be developed.”

Cellular reprogramming:

“Applying factors to shape a cell to a younger state is super-exciting and I saw this was a science achievement to be supported and investigated …  it could have a huge impact on certain areas of aging – taking the state of a cell and taking it to the past. Turn Bio is one company I invested in, very early, and so from an investment point of view, super-risky! But I wrote the cheque because I wanted the tech research to move forward. I am very happy to see their work progressing, and indeed the whole field.”

Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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