SAN CARLOS, Calif. — The executives at Alkahest have heard plenty of vampire jokes. They are, after all, turning to blood from young donors in search of an elixir for diseases associated with aging. And yes, they’re in Silicon Valley.

But this five-year-old biotech company led by Genentech alums is doing serious science. It just happens to be working in a field that the Food and Drug Administration rebuked last month with a stern warning, noting that plasma infusions from young people provide “no proven clinical benefit” against diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

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