Longevity Biotechnology and Longevity Escape Velocity

Longevity biotechnology companies that develop cutting-edge interventions to extend human lifespan are attracting significant investment and attention.

Since the beginning of time, humans have searched for the illusive fountain of youth. In recent years, interest has only grown in finding the secret to halting and even reversing ageing: anti-ageing of the skin, research into the world’s Blue Zones and even new studies that indicate that ageing can be reversed. What if, thanks to scientific advancements and significant investment and attention on longevity biotechnology companies – which focus on developing novel interventions to extend human lifespan – we are finally on the cusp of turning this fantasy into a reality? 

 

Whether or not this is the case, the numbers speak for themselves: the interest in longevity is going nowhere. According to the Allied Market Research group, the estimated total value of longevity and anti-senescence therapies was $25.1bn in 2020 and is expected to reach $44.2bn by 2030. 

What is Longevity Biotechnology? 

Human life expectancy has nearly doubled since 1900 thanks to immense medical

progress against infectious diseases. And, according to the WHO, during 2024, the population aged 65+ is set to surpass those under 15. That means, however, that diseases of ageing such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease are now humanity’s leading cause of death. 

 

Longevity biotechnology aims to tackle these diseases of ageing and ageing itself based on the idea of Geroscience. Geroscience recognises that the key to a longer healthspan lies in targeting ageing as the root cause of disease because the biological processes of ageing are the primary drivers of chronic diseases as we age. 

What do Longevity Biotechnology companies do?

 

Longevity biotechnology companies develop interventions that test the hypothesis of Geroscience by targeting the fundamental mechanisms of ageing physiology and reducing the rate of ageing. This in turn potentially prevents, delays and treats age-related diseases and extends healthy lifespan – or healthspan, as it is often referred to. 

 

Longevity biotechnology companies should not only have a drug discovery approach grounded in strong scientific evidence, but also conduct rigorous clinical trials, which include randomised controlled double-blinded studies. Adhering to this framework becomes increasingly important as more and more interventions to extend human healthspan come onto the market. 

What kind of interventions do Longevity Biotechnology companies offer? 

 

Longevity biotechnology is at an exciting stage, where experiments shown to extend healthspan in animals are now being used on humans, attracting interest from a variety of business people and investors as well as scientists, drug developers, doctors, and patients. The longevity biotechnology sector is quickly evolving, with a growing list of companies developing cutting-edge interventions to combat age-related diseases and enhance human healthspan. Here are some examples: 

BioAge: This California-based company harnesses the biology of human ageing to develop new therapies to tackle metabolic diseases such as obesity. One of the ways they do this is by capturing data to identify the molecular mediators of ageing and disease.

Unity Biotechnology: This California-based company develops transformative medicines that target senescent (ageing) cells in order to halt, prevent or reverse ageing-induced diseases. This is thought to extend lifespan by preventing or delaying tissue dysfunction.

LyGenesis: This Pennsylvania-based company develops cell treatment technology for organ regeneration and transplantation. The technology focuses on liver regeneration using lymph nodes within a patient’s own body to tackle late-stage liver disease.

Insilico Medicine: This Hong Kong-based company uses AI and deep learning technology for drug discovery and drug repurposing to identify molecules that can treat age-related diseases like cancer.

Oisin Biotechnologies: This Washington-based company develops senolytic therapies to minimise the consequences of ageing. Their unique proteo-lipid vehicle drug delivery platform tackles age-related disorders by targeting senescent cells.

What is Longevity Escape Velocity?

 

Interventions to extend healthspan are one thing, but what about living forever? This idea is now being entertained by some scientists using the hypothesis of longevity escape velocity (LEV). This Is a hypothetical situation in which life expectancy is improving at a faster rate than people are ageing. This hypothetical concept is based on the physics principle of "escape velocity", which states that – at a certain speed – objects can defy gravity's pull. For example, if we can increase the life expectancy of a person at any age by two years in any given year, living forever enters the realm of possibility and challenges the theory of a biological limit on life. Theoretically speaking, anyway. 

 

At the moment, what does longevity escape velocity look like in practice? If there is a ticket to immortality, it's probably less about living on a diet of lentils and broccoli, and more about reducing biological age using various technologies offered by longevity biotechnology companies. For example, Tom Weldon, the 67-year-old founder of the supplement, Rejuvant, claims to have accomplished longevity escape velocity by reducing his biological age to 47 by taking his own supplement. 

 

LEV is intrinsically linked to the advances of longevity biotechnology; the better we get at rejuvenating our cells, the closer we get to reaching this moment when life expectancy is increasing faster than we’re living. Currently, estimates about when we can expect LEV range from by 2030 to within our lifetime. 

 

As mind-blowing and unbelievable as this may seem, the concept of LEV is compelling enough to be attracting attention from various investors and backers. Just last year, the longevity startup Gero raised $6 million towards finding new cures for some of the most common age-related diseases. Also, the Longevity Escape Velocity Foundation began a $3 million trial – funded entirely by donations – to rejuvenate mice in 2023. It aims to give the mice one additional healthy year of life using various treatments and therapies. 

What does the future of longevity biotechnology hold? 

 

In conclusion, the future of longevity biotechnology holds immense promise and the industry is poised to make groundbreaking progress in disrupting the ageing process and extending healthspan. With ever-growing investment and interest in the field, it’s important to discern which interventions have both solid scientific foundations and genuine therapeutic potential to extend human healthspan.

 

All things considered, while cutting-edge longevity biotechnology of the future deserves our attention and perhaps even our financial backing, it is a smart move to also focus on what can be done in the here and now to enhance our later years. Genetic screening – like the Whole Genome Sequencing that we do as part of our longevity programme – can alert people to their susceptibility to life-limiting conditions, allowing them to take risk-reducing action earlier. 

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