EXCLUSIVE: Ambrosia, the Young Blood Transfusion Startup, Is Quietly Back in Business
The company says it paused operations after an FDA notice, but customer demand remained high
Earlier this year, Ambrosia, the much-maligned California startup selling blood transfusions from young donors, stopped offering the procedure after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a buyer beware, cautioning consumers against using the service. But now, according to Ambrosia’s CEO, the company is back up and running.
Jesse Karmazin, the CEO and founder of Ambrosia, told OneZero in an interview that the company had resumed giving customers transfusions of plasma, the colorless liquid part of the blood, from young donors about a month ago. “Our patients really want the treatment,” he said. “Patients are receiving plasma transfusions from donors ages 16 to 25 again.” One-liter transfusions cost $8,000, and two-liter transfusions are $12,000.
In a pitch about Ambrosia at a 2017 conference on self-enhancement, Karmazin said, “We’re a company interested in making you young again.” Plasma contains proteins that help the blood clot, and transfusions are often performed on patients to manage excessive bleeding, such as in trauma cases, and to treat clotting disorders like hemophilia. But experts say there’s no basis for using plasma to slow or reverse aging or age-related diseases, like Karmazin has claimed. Critics have blasted Karmazin’s transfusions as snake oil.
Controversy over the company reached a head in February 2019, when then FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb issued a strongly worded statement warning consumers against such transfusions, saying there is “no proven clinical benefit” of infusing plasma from young donors to mitigate, treat, or prevent aging, memory loss, or a host of serious medical conditions like Alzheimer’s. Ambrosia’s website claims that its transfusions have been found to “produce statistically significant improvements” in biomarkers related to Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, and inflammation, and that customers have reported “subjective improvements” in memory, sleep, and other areas.
“We’re alerting consumers and health care providers that treatments using plasma from young donors have not gone…