Roughly three years ago, Karmazin launched Ambrosia, a startup that fills the veins of older people with blood from younger donors, hoping the procedure would help conquer aging by rejuvenating the body’s organs. As Business Insider previously reported, there’s little to no evidence to suggest this would work.
The company is now up and running, Karmazin told Business Insider on Wednesday. Ambrosia recently revamped its website with a list of clinic locations and is now accepting payments for the procedure via PayPal. Two options are listed: 1 liter of young blood for $8,000, or 2 liters for $12,000.
In the fall, Karmazin — who is not a licensed medical practitioner — told Business Insider he planned to open the first Ambrosia clinic in New York City by the end of the year. That didn’t happen. Instead, he said, the sites where customers can get the procedure include Los Angeles; San Francisco; Tampa, Florida; Omaha, Nebraska; and Houston, Texas.
In 2017, Ambrosia enrolled people in a clinical trial designed to find out what happens when the veins of adults are filled with blood from younger people. While the results of that study have not been made public, Karmazin told Business Insider in September that they were “really positive.”
There’s no scientific evidence to suggest that the treatments could help anyone, and several experts who spoke to Business Insider have raised red flags.
But because the Food and Drug Administration has approved blood transfusions, Ambrosia’s approach has been able to continue as an off-label treatment.
There appears to be significant interest. A week after putting up its first website in September, the company received roughly 100 inquiries about how to get the treatment, David Cavalier, Ambrosia’s chief operating officer at the time, told Business Insider in the fall. That led to the creation of a waiting list, Cavalier said.
In January, Cavalier told Business Insider he’d left Ambrosia, leaving Karmazin as the company’s only public employee.
Before departing from Ambrosia, Cavalier worked with Karmazin to scout several potential clinic locations in New York and organize talks with potential investors, he said.
Ambrosia’s first clinical trial
Because blood transfusions are already approved by federal regulators, Ambrosia does not need to demonstrate that its treatment carries significant benefits before offering it to customers.
As of September, the company had infused close to 150 people, ranging in age from 35 to 92, with the blood of younger donors, Cavalier said. Of those, 81 participated in its clinical trial.
The trial, which involved giving patients 1.5 liters of plasma from a donor between the ages of 16 and 25 over two days, was conducted with David Wright, a physician who owns a private intravenous-therapy center in Monterey, California. Before and after the infusions, participants’ blood was tested for a handful of biomarkers, or measurable biological substances and processes thought to provide a snapshot of health and disease.
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