The US scientist will lead the San Francisco-based biotech Altos Labs
It was announced this week that Hal Barron, a highly regarded US scientist, would be moving to the biotech start-up Altos Labs, leaving GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) after five years with the drugmaker.
The 59-year-old will now head up the San Francisco-based firm, which focuses on the biology of cellular rejuvenation programming, with the aim of reversing disease.
Cellular programming has been proven to rejuvenate cells and may hold the key to preventing and fighting off diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer's, both of which are linked with aging.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and Russian venture capitalist Yuri Milner are among those understood to be backing the privately owned biotech firm. Barron will be moving to a start-up that received $3 billion in funding in August.
The billionaire-backed firm is currently on a hiring spree, following the funding announcement earlier in the week.
The firm, which was incorporated in the US and UK last year, has operations in Silicon Valley and San Diego in California, and in Cambridge, England.
Barron will remain on the GSK board as a non-executive director for three years.
He leaves at a time of renewed pressure on the drugmaker. Activist investor Elliott Management, a New York hedge fund, has encouraged the firm to improve its operational and share-price performance