#037: Jan 11th, 2022 - Longevity Marketcap Newsletter
2021 Industry Review. NewLimit. New Funds. Longevity Biotech Job Fair.
Last Week(s) in Longevity
Capital Raise Radar
New Companies on Longevity List
2021 Review: Quantifying the Longevity Industry
*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.
If you want to be part of this mission alongside me, please consider supporting through Patreon.
Notice to new readers: You might want to take a look at this post of longevity resources if you are new to this space.
📢On Deck Longevity Biotech (ODLB) is now accepting applications for the 2nd cohort.📢
Interested in getting involved in the Longevity Biotech startup ecosystem as a founder, early hire, or investor? Apply here.
My longevity biotech rolling fund Healthspan Capital is now live on Angel List. We’ve raised our first quarter of capital, enlisted an amazing advisory board, and invested in three longevity startups so far.
Feb 3rd, 2022 @10AM PST. Longevity Biotech Virtual Job Fair by On Deck Longevity Biotech. Public job fair featuring longevity biotech startups. Short company intros followed by small group breakout rooms for networking. Companies include: BioAge, Retro Biosciences, Repair Biotechnologies, Rubedo Life Sciences, Gameto, Deciduous Therapeutics, Juvena Therapeutics, Underdog Pharmaceuticals, Arrive Bio, Cognito Therapeutics, and more.
📝 Last Week(s) in Longevity
🧬Coinbase CEO, Brian Armstrong, announces $105M funding to launch a new epigenetic reprogramming startup called NewLimit.
* errata: Original publication stated NewLimit’s focus was on radically extending human “lifespan.” This has been corrected to “healthspan”.
The crypto & longevity crossover continues. NewLimit is a newly announced epigenetic reprogramming startup founded by Coinbase founder and CEO, Brian Armstrong, along with Blake Byers (biotech investor formerly at Google Ventures). The company has raised $105M and is focussing on “radically extending human healthspan” by first going after indications in eye disease and immunosenescence using reprogramming before age reversal in all tissues.
With this announcement the cellular reprogramming race continues to heat up. It was only a few months ago that Altos Labs was leaked – a new reprogramming mega-company backed by Jeff Bezos, Yuri Milner, and Rick Klausner to the tune of $270M USD (with a rumored $6B earmarked), hiring a large fraction of the top researchers in reprogramming/epigenetics. In my opinion, Altos was the biggest development in LongBio in 2021.
Altos and NewLimit are not alone, however. Retro Biosciences, Iduna Therapeutics, Turn Biotechnologies, Shift Bioscience (I’m an investor), AgeX Therapeutics (NYSE:AGE), and YouthBio Therapeutics are also pursuing the reprogramming paradigm for aging.
The basic idea behind epigenetic reprogramming is to reset the gene expression of old cells to that of a young cell without turning the “clock” all the way back to a pluripotent embryonic state (often referred to as “partial reprogramming”). This can be achieved using some combination of transcription factors like the Yamanka factors (OSKM) or other factors / potentially small molecules. The reprogramming technique traces its roots back to Shinya Yamanka’s Nobel Prize winning work on induced pluripotency (2006). Development of partial reprogramming is more recent, some notable examples: Ocampo/Belmonte’s in vivo partial reprogramming work in mice (2016), and David Sinclair’s reprogramming work demonstrating the regeneration of the optic nerve in mice (2019).
Epigenetic reprogramming is one of the most promising and perhaps overhyped approaches to reversing aging. It promises “full” rejuvenation at the cellular level and potentially applicable to all cell types. However, it is still very early days – there has not yet been a demonstration of lifespan extension in wildtype mice using reprogramming. Reprogramming also would not likely be able to address aging damage in DNA mutations or crosslinks in the extracellular matrix. There’s also questions of safety regarding tumor formation. Reprogramming remains a high risk, high reward bet.
Cambrian Biopharma is one of the big distributed drug development companies (“DisCo”) hub-and-spoke companies in the longevity space. At the end of October, Cambrian announced that it had raised $100M in a Series C round led by Anthos Capital and SALT Fund. The funds will enable Cambrian to advance their existing programs and work with more scientific collaborators. Cambrian has 14+ programs under its umbrella, including assets from Sensei Biotherapeutics (phage cancer vaccine), Vita Therapeutics, and several others that have not been made public.
The hub and spoke DisCo model consists of a parent holding company that holds stakes in daughter biotech companies. Shared centralized resources in the parent company can be deployed in a flexible manner to help develop the assets of the portfolio companies. DisCos are touted as being capital efficient and flexible (compared to traditional VC / venture studio), but are more suited for asset-based portfolio companies and not platform-based or founder-led portfolio companies.
Cambrian Biopharma, based in New York, was founded in 2019 by James Peyer, Christian Angermeyer, and Sebastian Brunemeier.
For more info on Cambrian and their hub-and-spoke approach, I highly recommend you check out the wonderful Translating Aging Podcast episode with Cambrian CEO, James Peyer.
🧬 Jean Hebert’s Brain Aging Reversal Tissue Engineering receives a $1M grant from The Methuselah Foundation.
In early December, Jean Hebert, professor of neuroscience and genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine announced receipt of a $1M USD grant from the Methuselah Foundation to support his work on progressive replacement of neural tissue in the neocortex.
Tissue engineering and cell therapy replacement strategies to treat disease or reverse aging is an exciting and fundamentally comprehensive approach that avoids having to tinker with the unfathomable complexities of metabolism. Jean Hebert’s strategy to go after the most difficult organ to replace, the brain, is one of the defining bioengineering projects of our time. It’s a moonshot worthy of much more attention considering how little progress has been made on traditional single target approaches to tackling neurodegenerative disease.
🧬 Apollo Health Ventures raises $180M in second fund. Korify Capital launches new $100M fund.
Apollo Health Ventures, one of the largest LongBio venture funds in the world, recently announced it had raised $180M in its second fund. Apollo predominantly operates in a venture creation model – finding scientists with promising translatable discoveries and helping build a new company around them. Some Apollo portfolio companies include:
Aeovian Pharmaceuticals (mTOR)
Samsara Therapeutics (autophagy)
HAYA Therapeutics (long non-coding RNAs)
Cleara Biotech (senolytics, FOXO4)
+ others not publicly disclosed
The amount of capital flowing into longevity funds is an encouraging sign of growing legitimacy for the investment thesis. There are now several $100M+ VC funds in longevity including the newly announced Korify Capital (Robin Lauber, Davide Ottolini), Kizoo Technology Capital, Longevity Vision Fund, and Maximon.1
Lineage Cell Therapeutics (NYSE:LCTX), an embryonic stem cell platform startup working on cell therapy for regenerative medicine, announced a partnership with biotech giant Genentech (part of the Roche group) to develop its OpRegen program for dry age-related macular degeneration. The deal included $50M dollars up front with up to $670M in milestone payments (biobucks). Lineage’s share price was up 15% on the news.
Lineage’s OpRegen is a treatment for dry age-related macular degeneration – the leading cause of vision loss for older individuals in wealthy nations. The OpRegen cell therapy consists of allogeneic embryonic stem cells that are differentiated into retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE) and surgically transplanted into the retina. The therapy is currently in Phase 2 trials, with some very promising clinical data showing sustained improvements in vision in treated patients.
I’ve previously written a deep dive on Lineage Cell Therapeutics here.
Fountain Therapeutics is a platform longevity biotech startup founded by Tom Rando that leverages machine learning and high throughput in vitro cell imaging to find drugs that may reverse aging. Last month the company announced a $15M Series A-2 round led by Khosla Ventures with Eli Lilly and R42 coming in as new investors.
The application of machine learning and computer vision for drug discovery platforms is promising – other companies pursuing this approach include Spring Discovery, Juvena Therapeutics, Recursion Pharmaceuticals ($436M IPO in 2021), and Insitro.
Endogena is a Swiss-based longevity biotech startup that is developing drugs that stimulate endogenous regeneration in tissues in the body. The company announced an additional $20M in Series A funding, bringing a total of $29M raised to date. The funding was led by Rejuveron, one of the large DisCo / hub-and-spoke companies in the longevity space.
The funding will allow Endogena to continue to advance its program, EA-2353, a drug that stimulates the regeneration of retinal photoreceptor cells to treat retinitis pigmentosa, a type of progressive eye disease that causes loss of vision. Clinical trials for EA-2353 are expected in 1H 2022.
🧬 Longevity Science Foundation commits $1B over 10 years to advancing scientific research. Partners with Coin Telegraph to educate crypto community on longevity.
The Longevity Science Foundation is a $1B Swiss foundation dedicated to advancing scientific research in longevity to increase maximum lifespan beyond 120+ years. The foundation was announced at the end of September, and chaired by an impressive board including Evelyne Bischof, Andrea B. Maier, Eric Verdin, Matt Kaeberlein, Michael Levitt and Alex Zhavoronkov.
The donors of the foundation remain a mystery, but considering the recent announcement of the foundation’s partnership with Coin Telegraph to increase awareness about longevity and also its blockchain proposal voting mechanism, it’s pretty clear that crypto people are behind the initiative.
Researchers and institutions wishing to apply for a grant from the Longevity Science Foundation can apply here.
The Alliance for Longevity Initiatives is a new 501(c)(4) non-profit organization founded with the goal of “creating social and political action around the issues of combating age-related chronic conditions and increasing our number of healthy, disease-free years.”
Lobbying for longevity, essentially.
The organization, helmed by Dylan Livingston, held their first bipartisan public panel in December to discuss how to involve Congress in longevity and how to grow a grassroots campaign in this space. (recording here)
Panelists included former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, former Congressman Steve Israel, Director of the Institute for Aging Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Nir Barzilai, M.D., Partner at the SALT Fund Dina Radenkovic M.D., and A4LI Chair of the Board Sonia Arrison.
My take: I cannot stress enough how important this organization is, and how important it is to get longevity on the political agenda. Currently, less than 1% of the NIH budget goes towards geroscience. Political campaigns were hard fought to bring cancer and HIV/AIDs research to the forefront of public support. Aging/geroscience will need to go through this same fight eventually. Might as well start now.
“For any illness to rise to political prominence, it needed to be marketed, just as a political campaign needed marketing. A disease needed to be transformed politically before it could be transformed scientifically. If Farber’s antifolates were his first discovery in oncology, then this critical truth was his second.”
I’ve become a donating member of A4LI, and I highly recommend others to do so too. You can donate to A4LI or become a member here.
🧬 New longevity media projects, television, documentaries, movies, etc.
Several new media projects have been springing up, spreading awareness about longevity. These include three documentaries and one feature length film. Some of these projects are still filming / raising funds.
Media is a powerful codescript for human ambition and cooperation. I myself first became aware of longevity/anti-aging after watching a Ray Kurzweil documentary.
Limitless - A Disney+ documentary starring Chris Hemsworth exploring longevity mostly from the performance and health optimization angle. Peter Attia makes an appearance in the trailer, so there’s that.
Longevity Hackers - A documentary currently being filmed and directed by Michal Siewierski. The project is also looking for investors, so interested parties should reach out.
Longevity Hackers is a new mainstream longevity feature documentary that is currently in the making by Emmy nominated filmmaker Michal Siewierski. The film features some of the biggest names in the longevity space. Check out www.longevityhackers.tv for more information or contact email@example.com for limited investment or sponsorship opportunities in this movie. The film is set to be released between Q2 and Q3, 2022 worldwide, in dozens of channels and digital platforms.
Ageless - A longevity documentary project currently looking for investors. Team includes Daniel Sollinger, Galia Barkol, and Issen Robbins.
After witnessing her father's long decline, Galia Barkol sets out to find what is being done today about age-related diseases. She learns we are on the brink of a medical revolution as dramatic as vaccines and antibiotics. A new scientific consensus has been established: "Biological aging can be targeted medically."
This paradigm shift may enable us to prevent, treat, and even reverse the terrible diseases we now struggle to cure. As this new field reaches its tipping point, Galia interviews leading scientists, biotechnologists, policy makers, social psychologists, and academics who shed light on this complex subject— from funding, government policies and clinical trials to the “anti-aging” industry and ethical concerns.
Last Generation to Die. A feature film project by Tim Maupin. Also looking for investors.
Filmmaker Tim Maupin's longevity feature film is currently in development and seeking funding. Based on his proof-of-concept, festival favorite, and visually stunning short film "The Last Generation to Die", this full length adaptation will dive further into a near future world in a positive light where science is just on the cusp of true age-reversal. This film seeks to change minds and hearts toward the positive benefits of longevity without going into the usual dystopian Hollywood territory. Greater public acceptance would move the science faster and more quickly reduce suffering and save more lives.
Full deck and financial information are available upon request. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can be part of this groundbreaking film in which the convergence of art and science will serve as a powerful, global mission statement redefining aging. To view the proof-of-concept short film and for more information, please visit the film’s website: www.lastgenmovie.com
🧬Other news in brief🧬
Really unfortunate. Additionally, JPM is going virtual this year.
Longeveron’s stock price climbed over 10x over the next few days.
Looking to see if exercise + rapamycin have synergistic effects
Special Notice: Cryopreservation
Are you a neurobiology / neuroscience PhD student looking to join an exciting new biotech startup? Check out Lorentz Bio / contact Laura Deming.
Tomorrow Biostasis is building a new cryopreservation provider based in Berlin, Germany and currently focused on Europe. Together with a non-profit foundation in Switzerland the goal is to
a) provide high quality cryopreservation,
b) professionalize and communicate the topic better and most importantly
c) fund R&D.
R&D projects are currently targeted on tangible, shorter-term improvements of the procedure and practices and will expand to basic research over time. More information: tomorrowbiostasis.com and emilkendziorra.medium.com
📅 Longevity Futures
Jan 11, 2022. WuXi Apptec Healthy Aging Forum 2022. Online An online series of panels and talks put on by WuXi. Speakers from academia and industry including: Kristen Fortney (BioAge), Linda Partridge (MPI), Eric Verdin (Buck Institute), Jens Eckstein (Apollo Health Ventures), James Peyer (Cambrian).
Jan 11, 2022 @ 7PM PT. Artificial Intelligence and Aging Webinar. Presented by Ronjon Nag of R42.
Jan 12, 2022. Therapeutics for Diseases of Aging Virtual Panel. Part of JPM 2022. Moderated by Kristen Fortney (BioAge). Panelists include Sam Jackson (Alector), Alex Zhavoronkov (Insilico Medicine), Jennifer Garrison (Buck Institute), and William Evans (Berkeley, Duke).
Feb 3rd, 2022 @10AM PST. Longevity Biotech Virtual Job Fair by On Deck Longevity Biotech. Public job fair featuring longevity biotech startups. Short company intros followed by small group breakout rooms with company representatives for networking. Companies include: BioAge, Retro Biosciences, Repair Biotechnologies, Rubedo Life Sciences, Gameto, Deciduous Therapeutics, Juvena Therapeutics, Underdog Pharmaceuticals, Arrive Bio, Cognito Therapeutics, and more.
April 26- 27, 2022. Longevity Leaders Annual Congress Conference. London, UK. Industry focussed conference including speakers: Greg Bailey (Juvenescence), Tom Rando (Fountain Therapeutics, Stanford), Alexandra Bause (Apollo Health Ventures), Joan Mannick (Life Biosciences), and many others.
May 17-20, 2022. 50th Annual AGE Meeting. San Antonio, TX. The American Aging Association’s annual meeting / conference will be taking place in May in San Antonio, Texas. Speakers predominantly from academia including: Matt Kaeberlein, David Gems, Tom Rando, Vittorio Sebastiano, and many others. Price: $550 (early bird).
The American Aging Association was launched on October 19, 1970 and organized by a group of distinguished medical doctors and scientists who wanted a specific organization dedicated to aging research. The Association is defined as a non-profit, tax-exempt national organization of lay and scientific members dedicated to:
Promote biomedical aging studies directed towards increasing the functional life span of humans with one goal being to slow the aging process.
Keep the public informed of the progress of aging research and of practical means of achieving a long and healthy life.
Increase knowledge of biogerontology among physicians and others in the health fields
Foster the scientific and professional career development of AGE trainees and scientific members.
Why be an AGE Member?
The American Aging Association fosters the scientific and professional career development of its members through scientific meetings, networking, mentorship, and financial support of trainees. Members have access to exclusive content, such as recorded seminars and Powerpoint slides, and have free access rights to the electronic content of the journal GeroScience.
Know of any interesting longevity talks, meetings, or events? Please email me.
📡 Capital Raise Radar
Want to know who’s raising capital? Happy to chat with interested, mission-aligned parties. Contact me at email@example.com
✨ Featured Longevity Jobs
Looking for jobs, companies, or investors in the longevity biotechnology industry? Check out my website LongevityList.com.
Venture Associate // Cambrian Biopharma // New York City, NY
Laboratory Assistant // Casma Therapeutics // Cambridge, MA
Office Manager // Spring Discovery // San Carlos, CA
Senior Computational Biology Scientist // Gameto // New York City, NY
Product Designer // Loyal // San Francisco Bay Area or Remote
Software Engineer // Loyal // San Francisco Bay Area or Remote
Neuroscientist // Lorentz Bio // San Francisco, CA
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 discovered and added to the Longevity List database in the past week. Have any longevity company tips? Please email me.
Telomere Therapeutics: Founded by Maria Blasco, a renowned researcher of telomeres and telomerase currently based in Spain (CNIO).
Telocyte: A startup developing an hTERT telomerase gene therapy to reverse aging in the brain / treat Alzheimer’s disease. Founded by Michael Fossel.
Boston Matrix: A new open source biotech project focussing on the extracellular matrix (ECM) for aging. Developing small molecule drugs to inhibit ECM crosslinking. Affiliated with Open Longevity, the Russian longevity community.
Starkage Therapeutics: A French biotech startup focussing on development of novel senolytics using immunotherapy.
Altos Labs: Epigenetic reprogramming mega-company backed by Jeff Bezos and Yuri Still technically in stealth, but is clearly well underway.
YouthBio Therapeutics: Epigenetic reprogramming. Founded by Yuri Deigin.
2021 Review: Quantifying the Longevity Biotech Industry
Roundup of 2021 - key stats in the Longevity Biotech industry. Data from longevitylist.com.
2021 was an incredible year for longevity biotech.
There were SPACs, IPOs, DAOs, new $100M funds, new clinical trials, and new mega companies (specifically in epigenetic reprogramming).
Let’s take a look back at the investment landscape and capital inflows into the LongBio industry in 2021.
$3B USD total funding in 2021
*Update March 17, 2022: Since publishing this post, Altos Labs publicly launched with $3B USD in funding, much larger than the reported $270M in the MIT Technology Review scoop.
New capital flowed into the LongBio sector to the tune of $3B in 2021 (based on publicly announced financings).
To be fair, a large percentage of this funding was Calico and AbbVie’s renewed partnership ($1B in 2021). But outside of Calico, there were several 100M+ financing rounds, from SPACs, IPOs, or venture financing rounds.
36 Completed Capital Raises
2021 saw 36 publicly announced capital raises in longevity biotech, which included Altos Labs, New Limit, Loyal, and many others.
Here’s the breakdown by financing type
32 private venture deals / funding
*Update March 17, 2022: Since publishing this post, Altos Labs publicly launched with $3B USD in funding, much larger than the reported $270M in the MIT Technology Review scoop.
The areas of regenerative medicine and tissue engineering saw the largest total financings as there are more mature companies in that sector (several SPAC/IPOs in 2021). Epigenetic reprogramming followed in total dollar amount of financing coming from just two (mega) companies: Altos Labs and NewLimit.
10+ New Longevity Biotechs Founded in 2021
Ten or more new longevity biotech startups were founded in 2021. This is definitely an incomplete figure as most biotech companies stay in stealth mode for some time before officially announcing. We might not know the true count for 2021 for a year or more.
For reference, 2020 saw 14 new longevity companies founded (probably incomplete data, too). Not much can be said about trend until 2021 companies start coming out of stealth.
Take away: We need more longevity founders.
Five $100M+ New Venture Fund Announcements
In 2011, Laura Deming founded the first longevity venture capital fund with just $4M raised. Ten years later, five venture funds or venture builders each announced new $100M+ funds and commitments in 2021 alone.
Apollo Health Ventures - Announced the close of $180M for their second fund
Korify Capital - based in Switzerland, announced new $100M+ longevity biotech venture fund
Maximon - Announced a $105M venture building fund.
Also worth mentioning VitaDAO raising $5M in ETH – a major milestone as a new decentralized structure enabled by web3 to fund and commercialize longevity research IP.
Six New Potential Anti-Aging Therapies Brought to Clinical Trials
Four LongBio startups brought new therapies to the clinic in 2021. Most notably:
BioAge: BGE-117 // unexplained adult anemia // Phase 2
BioAge: BGE-175 // Covid-19 // Phase 2
Spring Discovery (through a non-profit): disulfiram (off patent) // Covid-19 // Phase 2
Calico // ABBV-CLS-7262 // amyotrophic lateral sclerosis // Phase 1
Integrated stress response activator
Retrotope // RT001 // progressive supranuclear palsy // Phase 2
Mitochondrial peroxidation inhibitor
Retrotope // RT001 // amyotrophic lateral sclerosis // Phase 2
Mitochondrial peroxidation inhibitor
Some of my projects, resources, and ways to support my mission. More projects coming…
On Deck Longevity Biotech Fellowship (Program Director) - On Deck Longevity Biotech (ODLB) is a continuous community for people to come together to build, join, or invest in revolutionary longevity biotechnology startups.
Healthspan Capital - An early-stage longevity biotech venture fund.
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.
forum.longevitybase.org - An open question and answer system for aging biology and longevity biotechnology.
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.
Humans for Longevity - A literary art project featuring the stories and motivations behind the people working on solving the problem of aging.
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, link shares, memes. My DMs are open.
A special thanks to my Patreon supporters who have joined forces with me to undertake this mission.
It’s notable that most of the large longevity VC funds are based in Europe, while the majority of longevity biotech companies are based in the US.