#026: April 5th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry
Recursion Pharma IPO. China's Anti-aging Warren Buffet. The Longevity State.
Capital Raise Radar
Last Week in Longevity
New Companies on Longevity List
Tweet of the Week
*Disclaimer: None of this should be taken as financial advice. It is for educational purposes only.
Mission: To grow a wave of passionate people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan.
Every Friday @ 12PM - 5PM EDT. Longevity Virtual Coworking. If you are working on longevity or thinking about getting into the longevity industry, please join me for an experimental virtual longevity coworking space using the Pluto.Video web app. (Sign in with Google account. No sign-up required.)
Bring your work.
Feel free to ask questions.
Help out. Connect.
I plan on holding this weekly. It’s free. (Room Link)
The 1% Bet for Longevity-- a website initiative. 27 people have now signed up for the 1% Bet for Longevity Pledge. My goal is to get to 50,000 people and at least 100 companies to pledge 1% of their resources towards funding longevity companies and research by end of year. Qiao Wang, noted crypto and DeFi thought leader, has signed up and so can you!
Longevity List / Longevity Marketcap is Hiring!
Biology Analyst and Literature Researcher // Part-time (~ 15 hours per week)
Scrape / collate aging research papers. Summarize and comment on their methods and main results.
Bonus if you have experience in NLP/ML.
📡 Capital Raise Radar
I do not endorse or have affiliations with any of the companies listed below. This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. This is for informational purposes only. If you have intel on any other longevity companies currently raising please email me. It’s free.
Senolytic gene therapy using lipid-protein nanoparticle delivery vehicle.
Kill cells that express p16 gene -- a marker of senescent cells. Inducible apoptosis gene with a p16 promoter triggered by a chemical dimerizer.
Team: Matt Scholz (Immusoft), Gary Hudson.
Seed round. Accredited investors only. $50K minimum check size.
Other investors include The Methuselah Fund, Kizoo Technology Capital.
Makers of Rejuvant Life Tabs, a calcium alpha-ketoglutarate supplement (CaAKG). Alpha-ketoglutarate is a key molecule in the Krebs cycle. Brian Kennedy (former head of Buck Institute, now at the National University of Singapore) is the CSO of this company.
CaAKG supplementation reduces frailty and extends maximal lifespan of female mice by 20%. (Shahmirzhadi et al 2020)
Currently “soft-closed” $5.5 M for their Series B. Looking to raise up to $15 M total.
Small molecule drugs that enhance cognition and reduce neuron excitability to treat neurodegenerative and CNS conditions (including anxiety and depression).
Targets the nitric oxide and CREB pathways.
Same team that built Cardioxyl ($2B exit to Bristol Myers Squib)
Mitochondrial uncoupler drug to burn fat through natural body heat production.
Targeting obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, PCOS.
Pro longevity: Exercise mimetic, increases mitochondria biogenesis, etc
+ see all (click on “Capital Raise Radar”)
Complete this quick 5 question survey for a chance to win an awesome Longevity T-shirt from the Longevity List Store. One entry per person. Runs till April 30th, 2021.
📝 Last Week in Longevity
AI drug discovery unicorn Recursion Pharmaceuticals files for IPO (NASDAQ:RXRX). Recursion is one of the most exciting and well-funded AI/ML drug discovery startups. The company leverages high throughput imaging of cells combined with robotic automation to generate massive datasets. All this in an effort to decode biology and discover new drugs via artificial intelligence techniques. I’m a huge fan.
And little known fact: Recursion is also an aging company.
In Recursion’s S-1, there is a small section devoted to their senolytics pipeline, which was initially funded by an SBIR grant. The company has developed a screen for cellular senescence by imaging cell morphology. This is particularly intriguing as there is presently no known universal biomarker for cellular senescence. Genetic markers (p16INK4a) or chemical markers (SA beta-galactosidase) are most used.
While still in preclinical studies, Recursion’s candidate senolytic drug, REC-4249, to treat scleroderma significantly reduces the number of p16 expressing cells in the liver of mice. But the drug did not have the same effect in the kidney or lung.
Also of note: In July last year, Recursion acquired Vium, a “digital vivarium” company that automates certain aspects of animal husbandry (for mice). Vium was founded by Joe Betts-LaCroix, a well-known figure in the longevity industry. The acquisition will serve to bolster Recursion’s automated high-throughput in vivo screens.
Recursion is looking to raise ~$100M in their IPO. Previously, Recursion raised a $239M Series D in September 2020 at a valuation of over $1B. Investors in Recursion Pharma include Bayer, Lux Capital, Felicis Ventures, among others.
China’s “Warren Buffet” announces anti-aging goal for pharma subsidiary. Billionaire founder of Fosun International, Guochang Guo, came out in support of the longevity movement in his letter to shareholders last week. In the letter, he announced the goal of his conglomerate’s drug subsidiary, Fosun Pharma, to help people live in health to the age of 121.1 Guo is the 50th richest person in China.
China’s pharmaceutical industry is the 2nd largest in the world. Despite this, there hasn’t been much development of Chinese longevity companies (Hong Kong-based Insilico Medicine being an exception). I expect this to change very soon. As noted in last week’s newsletter, David Sinclair’s book Lifespan had a significant impact in China, forcing Chinese regulators to ban the sale of the NMN supplement in the country. Additionally, China’s rapidly aging population will likely force its government to invest in longevity shortly.
Celeris Therapeutics raises 400k EUR seed funding. Celeris Therapeutics is an Austrian startup that leverages AI/ML to develop protein degrading drugs (PROTACs, molecular glues, small molecule drugs). The company announced they had raised a 400k EUR seed round from noted longevity VC firms R42 (Ronjon Nag) and Longevitytech.fund (Petr Sramek).
📅 Longevity Futures
Join us for a conversation with the founders and team at Maximon, a Swiss Longevity Venture builder.
Stick around at the end of each show for a casual “after-party” longevity biotech chat/networking.
Wednesday, April 7th, 2021 @ 10AM ET. ARK Lecture Series - Commercialisation pathways of longevity innovation. Joao Pedro de Magalhaes will be speaking during this ARK (Aging Research at King’s) online event.
Thursday, April 8th, 2021 @ 7PM SGT. NUS Healthy Longevity Webinar. This week Morten Scheibye-Knudsen, a professor at the University of Copenhagen, will be discussing interventions in premature aging.
April 14, 2021 @ 5PM EDT. Saul Villeda -- Simons Foundation Event. “Can Aging be Reversed in the Brain” talk given Saul Villeda, professor at UCSF.
Longevity Leaders 2021 Online Conference May 4th - May 7th, 2021: An industry and academia conference with networking events. Basic passes are free but access to premium online events is paid. Early bird discounts are also available. A great lineup of speakers: Aubrey de Grey, Nir Barzilai, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, Sergey Young, Ronjon Nag, representatives from Alkahest, Stealth BioTherapeutics, Navitor, and many more.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 @ 11AM EDT. Aubrey de Grey and S. Jay Olshansky Longevity Webinar - Healthspan Show. Free online talk. Aubrey de Grey is the founder of SENS Research Foundation and Jay Olshansky is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Know of any interesting longevity talks, meetings, or events? Please email me.
✨ Featured Longevity Jobs
Looking for jobs, companies, or investors in the longevity biotechnology industry? Check out my website LongevityList.com.
Head of Consumer // Loyal // San Francisco, Remote
Computational Bio Internship // Loyal // San Francisco? / Remote?
Epigenetics / Reprogramming Post doc// Morgan Levine Lab (Yale) // Yale
Chief Scientific Officer // Maximon // Zug, Switzerland
SPAC Investment Professional // Maximon // Zug, Switzerland
Associate Director/Director of In Vivo Biology/Pharmacology// BioAge Labs // Richmond, CA, USA
Chief of Staff// BioAge Labs // Richmond, CA, USA , Remote
Research Data Scientist, Computational Biology // BioAge Labs // Richmond, CA, USA
Social Media Manager // Lifespan.io // Remote (Part-time)
If you are hiring, email me a link to your job postings and I will post them on longevitylist.com (it’s free).
New Companies on Longevity List
Some interesting longevity companies I have stumbled upon and added to the Longevity List database in the past week
Dyno Therapeutics. A Cambridge MA-based company that designs AAV capsid gene therapy vectors using AI/ML approaches. The company recently published a paper in Nature Biotechnology demonstrating the generation of an AAV capsid library using AI that had 60% viability. In comparison, typical mutagenesis approaches to generate capsid libraries have ~1% viability. Dyno has partnerships with several large pharma companies including Novartis, Sarepta, and Roche.
Gordian Biotechnology. A San Francisco-based company developing gene therapies specifically for complex diseases of aging using AI/ML. Their approach leverages parallel testing of gene therapies by injecting multiple therapies in a single model organism combined with single-cell interrogation. (Video)
Developing a gene therapy delivery system that “just works” is one of Reason’s requests for aging startups. Gene therapies have enormous potential for treating diseases beyond the typical monogenic varieties. A platform that can express a gene for a controllable amount of time in specific tissues would be an indispensable tool in treating complex diseases of aging.
Tweet of the Week: The State of Longevity
Longevity needs to progress faster. Anyone who doesn’t believe this simply does not understand the scope of human suffering caused by biological aging.
It would be wonderful if governments allocated more resources to longevity research and therapeutic translation. But there is no mandate. At the moment longevity supporters2 have no political power. Growing a grassroots movement can address this issue. But this will take time.
There is, however, a potential bypass of this problem. One that has only become possible recently through the power of the internet.
Balaji Srinivasan has this concept of “cloud formations” -- a tribe of people that find each other through the internet, coalesced around some common interest or identity. Sometimes cloud formations will condense in real life (Example: /r/longevity → Undoing Aging Conference). Typically these gatherings are limited in size and duration.
But what if a very large cloud formation could be cultivated to last for years -- decades even — in real life? This would resemble a nation-state. But one organized around a common goal instead of where you happened to be born. Members of the cloud formation would only need to buy some land to realize an actual physical state.
Sounds crazy, right?
But this basically what Elon Musk is doing with Starbase in Texas -- and it’s working.
Celine Halioua wants to build the SpaceX of Aging.
If true to form that would include building a corresponding “Longevitybase” city, too. She certainly has the competence and internet savviness to pull it off.
The Longevity State
Suppose 1% of the global population comes to support longevity acceleration3. And let’s say only the top ~7% most ardent of those supporters organize together in real life. This amount of people could form a city-state the size of Singapore.
A longevity state would have obvious benefits such as prioritization of the allocation of government resources towards aging research and translation. The concentration of top talent in one geographic area could increase efficiency, too.
But one of the most important feature unlocks of the Longevity State would be the creation of a new FDA.
The classification of aging as a disease by this new FDA would be a no-brainer. New rules could also include allowing drugs to conditionally go to market after sponsors demonstrate safety. Efficacy could be proven afterward in Phase 3 trials funded by the drug sales. These rules could potentially save lives by reducing drug approval time and costs, all while accelerating progress.4
A virtual state experiment
Celine Halioua isn’t a billionaire yet -- as far as I know.
So how would one initiate such a longevity state without a founding billionaire? One solution is to gather as much critical mass in the cloud as possible before manifesting in real life. Create a virtual state before the physical state.
That’s where my idea for a Longevity Virtual Coworking space comes in.
Online Zoom/Clubhouse events tend to be relatively short in duration and non-conducive to many-to-many interactions. On the other hand, a perpetual virtual coworking space filled with people aligned with the same goal is essentially a prototypical virtual state. It’s also fertile ground for forming serendipitous connections during interstitial moments. And best of all the coworking event doesn’t require people to sacrifice any additional time out of their day. We’re all just getting work done -- but in virtual space.
Last Friday was the inaugural launch of the Longevity Virtual Coworking space. Jim O’Neill (CEO of SENS Research Foundation) and Adam Ashwal (Transistor Bio) showed up, along with some new faces. A few bugs aside, the feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
Perhaps this virtual experiment is crazy.
But given that it costs nothing to try and has potential for significant upside, it’s worth a shot. Even if it never grows to virtual state proportions it could be a valuable community space for longevity.
So if you like getting work done while surrounded by people who share your interest in longevity, please join us Fridays from 12PM to 5PM ET in this virtual room.
Some of my projects, resources, and ways to support my mission. More projects coming…
Longevity List - Find jobs, companies, and investors in the longevity industry. Email me if you want to add your job or company to the list. It’s free.
Longevity List Database- A handy Airtable base covering people, companies, trials, academic labs, and a list of longevity companies that are presently raising capital.
LMC Clinical Trial Tracker- Longevity therapeutics in clinical trials. Completion calendar useful for investors who want to time data readout catalysts.
LongevityMarketcap.com- The main page tracks prices of publicly traded longevity stocks.
Longevity Biotech Show - Official website. We interview the people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. On Clubhouse / podcasts.
The 1% Percent Bet for Longevity Pledge - An initiative to get individuals and corporations to pledge at least 1% of their resources to fund longevity companies and research.
Patreon - For people who want to support my work and mission. Premium tiers include access to my private Telegram group for behind-the-scenes thoughts and network.
Twitter- Random thoughts and link shares. My DMs are open.
Conservative, but it’s a start.
Self-professed longevity supporters. Technically anyone who believes the practice of medicine is a good thing is pro-longevity.
Very rough estimation time. There are ~80k subscribers to /r/longevity. Reddit has ~430 million monthly active users. This implies longevity supporters make up 0.02% of the population. We need a 50x increase to reach 1% penetrance.
These are speculations. However, not too dissimilar from Japan’s stance on stem cell therapies.