#032: May 18th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry
Seismic funding rumors. Unity passes Phase 1. Deciduous Tx. Apprentices and Whitepapers. Humans for Longevity.
Last Week in Longevity
Capital Raise Radar
New Companies on Longevity List
Humans for Longevity
*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.
forum.longevitybase.org - I’ve made some improvements to the UI to make it feel more like a “StackExchange / Quora” for aging biology / longevity biotech. Feel free to sign up and try it out. Email me if you would like to become a moderator or if you have some suggestions.
For academics, independent researchers, biotech founders, and scientific-minded enthusiasts, etc.
Ask questions, get answers → builds a searchable longevity research knowledge base.
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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. (No sign-up required.)
Bring something to work on.
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. 37 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 the end of the year.
📝 Last Week in Longevity
Unity Biotechnology’s UBX1325 passes Phase 1 for diabetic macular edema. Phase 2a trial initiated. Unity Biotechnology is the earliest senolytics company -- founded in 2009 by Ned David, Judith Campisi, Jan van Deursen, and Daohong Zhou. Last week, the company announced that their lead program drug, UBX1325 to treat diabetic macular edema, had passed its Phase 1 safety trial. There were no serious adverse effects and initial data on efficacy will be released later this year. A Phase 2a efficacy trial (that may also enlist wet AMD patients for a parallel trial) is already underway with data expected in 2H 2022.
Diabetic macular edema is a disease that causes impaired vision due to inflammation and leakage of blood vessels in the retina. Preclinical studies conducted by Unity have shown a link between diabetic retinopathy and the accumulation of senescent cells in retinal blood vessels of human patients.
Presently, Unity’s main focus is on senolytic drugs for ocular diseases. However, the company also has programs in neurology that include both senolytic drugs and a non-senolytic therapeutic anti-aging protein, alpha-klotho (licensed from UCSF).
Unity is one of the most high-profile anti-aging biotech companies, attracting over $200M in funding from investors including Peter Thiel and Jeff Bezos. However, their first program, UBX0101 failed in a Phase 2 knee osteoarthritis trial in August 2020 - causing Unity’s stock price to plunge.
Aubrey de Grey hints at a “seismic” announcement for the longevity industry. Last Thursday, Aubrey de Grey and Vitalik Buterin appeared on an excellent AMA hosted by VitaDAO, a blockchain project that is attempting to create a decentralized organization that funds longevity research and tokenizes the resulting IP on Ethereum. During the stream, Aubrey de Grey hinted that someone (likely a billionaire) is going to make a big announcement in ~one month.
Here’s what Aubrey said:
“It's slightly unfortunate that we're doing this AMA now rather than a month or so from now because of the stuff that I can't talk about that is happening that will be really seismic in this field. People are getting involved in this that have not been involved before. Somebody whose name we all know and whose name I cannot mention. But he has been talking to me and been interested in this for more than 15 years is finally going to be doing something. And if you're listening, for God's sake, don't fuck it up the way Larry Ellison did 20 years ago and the way Larry Page did eight years ago1. Get it right.”
Who could it be?
“Jeff Bezos, I met at TED in 2005... I met him several years thereafter. And every single year, he would take the initiative to come up to me and asked me, what was new what was going on, but he's also never given us a penny.”
Jeff Bezos invested in both Unity Biotechnology and Denali Therapeutics. Bezos also recently announced he would be stepping down as CEO of Amazon starting in Q3 this year. Perfect timing. And after conquering internet commerce, logistics, cloud computing, and making forrays into space travel, there are only so many frontiers left. It is highly likely that it is Jeff Bezos.
Some commenters on my Twitter suggested Elon Musk could be the mysterious man Aubrey was referring to. Elon has discussed the issue of life extension in an interview with Tim Urban at Wait But Why and also funded Halcyon Molecular around 2010. But Elon’s view on longevity seems to only recognize the issue without much enthusiasm for actually tackling the problem.
What about Bill? Bill Gates seems to be vehemently against spending any money on the development of longevity therapeutics. All this despite the fact that he is a champion of research into Alzheimer’s disease, which is very much a manifestation of aging.
As I have written previously, my prediction is that announcements like the one Aubrey is hinting at will be only one of many similar announcements in the coming years. Only last week, Michael Greve announced a 300M EUR commitment to rejuvenation startups. Nir Barzilai claimed earlier this year that there would be an announcement for a $1 billion per year investment into longevity companies. According to Statista, 90% of the world’s billionaires were over the age of 50 in 2019: Funding will be exploding shortly. Now is a great time to get involved in longevity, especially for founders.
Deciduous Therapeutics publishes natural killer T cell senolytic study. Anil Bhushan is a researcher at the University of California San Francisco and also the co-founder of Deciduous Therapeutics, an immuno-senolytics startup backed by the Longevity Fund, 8VC, and crv.
In a paper published last week in Med (Cell Press), Bhushan demonstrated that the activation of invariant natural killer T cells (iNKT cells) with a special lipid called ɑ-galactosylceramide was able to remove senescent cells from fat tissue (mouse model of obesity) and lung tissue (pulmonary fibrosis model). The clearance of senescent fat cells resulted in the normalization of metabolism and blood glucose in obese mice. Clearance of senescent cells in the lung resulted in suppressed fibrosis and increased survival in IPF-model mice.
The immune system naturally clears senescent cells in the body. Leveraging the power of natural immune cells or engineered CAR-T cells is a promising approach to kill senescent cells in a manner that minimizes the amount of collateral damage to healthy cells. The senolytics industry is diverse in modalities and approaches (small molecule drugs, peptides, antibodies, RNA splicing factors, gene therapies, cell therapies, immunology approaches, nanoparticles, etc). This diversity potentially will lead to better chances of at least one success in this subsector.
AgelessRx PEARL Trial launches a crowdfunding campaign on Lifespan.io AgelessRx is spearheading a trial to test the effects of rapamycin on certain measures of healthspan in human patients. Their randomized placebo-controlled Phase 2 trial will measure various blood panels, visceral fat, and epigenetic DNA methylation age in different dosing regimens. Data will be made publicly available. PEARL is looking to raise $75,000 for its first goal, with several stretch goals for extra testing measures.
Rapamycin is one of the most studied anti-aging drugs -- it extends the lifespan of mice by ~ 15%. Unfortunately, it as well as many other potential anti-aging compounds are unpatentable (either off-patent or natural compound), which severely diminishes the business case for running a clinical trial. The PEARL trial represents one of the first cost-efficient community-funded aging trials that might be extended and replicated for other compounds in the future. I am donating and I would encourage others to do so too.
Vitalik Buterin donates $3M+ to the Methuselah Foundation. After donating over $1B dollars in cryptocurrency to COVID relief in India, Vitalik went further and donated substantial amounts to charities including 1,000 ETH to the Methuselah Foundation (as well as some indeterminately valued meme coins). The Methuselah Foundation was founded by Aubrey de Grey and David Gobel in 2003. The foundation’s mission is to support projects and research to accelerate breakthroughs in longevity.
Martin Borch Jensen announces Longevity Apprenticeship. Want to work alongside a founder at one of the most promising longevity biotech / gene therapy companies? Martin Borch Jensen, co-founder of Gordian Biotechnology, is looking to hire ~four longevity apprentices who will shadow and learn firsthand how to execute projects in longevity biotech. Prior experience or expertise in aging biology is not required.
NIA + USC National Geroscience Initiative whitepaper. A whitepaper detailing a vision for a national geroscience program was published by a coalition of members from academia and government (NIA). Jose Ricon (nintil.com ) and Adam Marblestone played a large role in the background material. The initiative was unveiled as part of a Geroscience symposium on May 7th, 2021. There are four goals for the geroscience initiative:
Goal 1: Increase Support for Basic and Translational Geroscience Research
Goal 2: Increase the number of early-stage clinical trials (Phase I and Phase IIA). focused on improving healthspan, with attention to relevant differences relating to race, ethnicity, sex, disability, occupation, and access to care.
Goal 3: Utilize public-private partnerships and innovative program management to address the impact of socioeconomic disparities on the R&D, distribution, and delivery of geroscience solutions and speed translation to communities in need.
Goal 4: Increase the number of researchers with expertise in both geriatrics and geroscience, capable of conducting translational research and designing and implementing late pre-clinical studies and clinical trials.
📅 Longevity Futures
Join us for a conversation with Marco Quarta, a researcher at Stanford University and co-founder of Rubedo Life Sciences, a biotech company developing targeted senolytics. Please note the different time (8PM ET).
Stick around at the end of each show for a casual “after-party” longevity biotech chat/networking.
Sign up for reminders via Google Calendar. Click this link for email reminders for all future Longevity Biotech Show events.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 @ 10:30AM EDT. AFAR Extending Human Healthspan and Longevity Webinar. $85 (discounts for academics). Speakers will include Nir Barzilai, Ana Maria Cuervo, James Kirkland, Morgan Levine, Joan Mannick, and others.
Thursday, May 20th, 2021 @ 7PM SGT. Tobias Reichmusth (Maximon) NUS Webinar. Tobias Reichmuth is a co-founder at Maximon, a Swiss-based longevity venture building company. They partner with entrepreneurs to build longevity companies from scratch. Tobias Reichmuth will be speaking as part of the National University of Singapore’s Healthy Longevity webinar series.
Friday, May 21, 2021 @ 1PM PST. Nathan Shock-Buck Institute Town Hall. Join for a Town Hall meeting to learn how you can leverage the technical services and expertise of the Nathan Shock network of aging research institutions.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 @ 7AM EDT. João Pedro de Magalhães Integrative Genomics of Aging Seminar. Zoom.
Summer Aging Seminars at Loyal.Celine Halioua, the founder of dog life-extension startup Loyal, is putting on aging science seminars this summer at their headquarters in San Francisco. Register to join.
July 20th - 23rd, 2021. American Aging Association Annual Meeting / Conference. Will include speakers such as Andrew Brack, Morgan Levine, Vadim Gladyshev, and more.
August 31st, 2021 - September 3, 2021. Aging Research and Drug Discovery Conference 2021.Online. $49 for a 3-day pass. The first day of the conference is free to attend. An incredible lineup of speakers including: David Sinclair, Alex Zhavoronkov, Thomas Rando, Peter de Keizer, Collin Ewald, Kristen Fortney, Nir Barzilai, Brian Kennedy, Manuel Serrano, Vera Gorbunova, and many others.
Know of any interesting longevity talks, meetings, or events? Please email me.
📡 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.
Developing compounds that target mitochondrial dysfunction to reverse aging. Includes natural compound cosmeceutical for skin aging and hair loss. Also developing pharmaceuticals for prostate / ovarian conditions.
Team: Keshav Singh (University of Alabama), Greg Schmergel (Nantero)
High-throughput phenotypic screen platform to discover anti-aging drugs.
Team includes academics from the Buck Institute: Simon Melov, Mark Lucanic, Gordon Lithgow.
Crowdfunding on WeFunder. Open to all investors, even retail.
Already raised $2.1M on a $15M valuation.
Senolytic gene therapy using a lipid-protein nanoparticle delivery vehicle. Kills cells that express the p16 gene -- a marker of senescent cells. Inducible apoptosis gene with a p16 promoter triggered by a chemical dimerizer.
Team: Matthew Scholz (Immusoft), Gary Hudson.
Seed round. Accredited investors only. $50K minimum check size.
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 maximum 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 mitochondrial biogenesis, etc
Y Combinator-backed company.
Team: Jonah Sinick, Yuriy Kirichok, Michael Grabe, Liliya Gabelev, David Segura
+ see all (click on “Capital Raise Radar”)
✨ Featured Longevity Jobs
Looking for jobs, companies, or investors in the longevity biotechnology industry? Check out my website LongevityList.com.
C elegans Research Scientist// Magnitude Biosciences // Durham, England
Research Associate // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
Research Associate Immunonology // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist - Applications// Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist - Technology // Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist/Director - Chemist // Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist/Director - Formulation // Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
Engineering Intern // Cellvie // Matzingen, Switzerland
Senior Scientist, Biochemist // Cellvie // Matzingen, Switzerland
Medical Analyst for Rejuvenation Therapies // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Analyst for Functional and Preventive Medicine // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Scientific Spokesperson // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Head of Global Communications // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Head of Consumer // Loyal // San Francisco, Remote
Computational Bio Internship // Loyal // San Francisco? / Remote?
Epigenetics / Reprogramming Postdoc// Morgan Levine Lab (Yale) // Yale
SPAC Investment Professional // Maximon // Zug, Switzerland
Associate Director/Director of In Vivo Biology/Pharmacology// BioAge Labs // Richmond, CA, USA
+ more longevity jobs
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
Intraclear Biologics: An Estonian-based longevity biotech company that is developing gene and enzyme therapies to clear intracellular aggregates. Their first targets are lipofuscin and 7-ketocholesterol. Intraclear was founded by Ariel Feinerman.
Celularity (NASDAQ:GXGX): A spinout from Bristol Myers Squibb’s Celgene, this company uses allogeneic natural killer cells for cancer therapies and allogeneic placenta-derived stem cells to treat degenerative diseases. The company announced its intentions to merge with GX Acquisition Corporation in a $372M SPAC deal in January this year. Celularity has also recently entered into an partnership with Palantir for data analysis services. Celularity was founded by Peter Diamandis (X Prize) and Robert Hariri.
Humans for Longevity
When the billionaires finally wake up and invest in the longevity industry, expect that there will be backlash from the mainstream media. The media will paint the desire to extend health beyond the status quo as egotistical and the exclusive purview of the immortality-seeking uber-wealthy.
This, of course, is ridiculous.
The vast majority of the people I know working on longevity are not billionaires. They are regular human beings like you and me.
It’s important, now more than ever, to tell the stories of these ordinary people who want to do something about aging. We need to set the record straight on the narrative: Longevity is not just for billionaires - longevity is for all humans. If we do not tell our own stories, they will be told for us, often by those who are ignorant of the potential universal benefits of treating aging as a disease.
Celine Halioua, the founder of Loyal, told her story in a touching Medium post (“Why I care about longevity”). Her story is one of many deeply human stories -- aging has touched everyone and their families in some way.
I have created a website, Humans for Longevity, to collect these stories as part of an artistic project / practical “PR campaign” for the longevity community. The first (short) story to appear on the website is one of my own.
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 of the Clubhouse show / podcast. We interview the people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. On Clubhouse / Spotify podcasts.
The One 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.
LongevityBase.org - An open-source volunteer initiative to itemize every instance of modulation of biological aging in the scientific literature.
forum.longevitybase.org - An open question and answer system for aging biology and longevity biotechnology.
Humans for Longevity - A collection of stories submitted by real people delving into the reasons why they care about aging and longevity.
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.
A special thanks to my Patreon supporters who have joined forces with me to undertake this mission.
Aubrey is referring to Google Calico here.