There are around 160 to 170 anti-aging companies focused on creating solutions! That’s the good news.
The bad news? About two dozen of them are publicly traded and almost all have declined significantly in value since their IPO. The rest remain privately held. The historical track record of investing in anti-aging companies is quite poor!
That said, with the vastly increased technical capabilities of modern science, there is tremendous potential going forward. Will some of these emerging companies overcome the aging processes and enable greater healthspan and longevity for humanity? Let’s take a look at some of the more notable ones.
Super-Wealthy Funded Anti-Aging Companies
It turns out that the super-wealthy are interested in owning more than just the top media companies in the world. As they begin to see signs of their mortality, they fund new anti-aging companies as well. As a few examples:
In 2013, Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page created Calico Labs (@calico). Craig Venter and Peter Diamandis created Human Longevity.
In 2016, British billionaire Jim Mellon launched Juvenescence and AgeX Therapeutics (@agexthera). Jeff Bezos and Peter Thiel funded Unity Biotechnology.
In 2017, David Sinclair and others started Life Biosciences, funded by wealthy individuals including WeWork’s Adam Neumann.
Each of these ventures struggled, both financially and in retaining their top scientists. Calico has no pipeline of candidate solutions. Human Longevity’s founders departed and the company evolved into a very good, but small scale full body testing medical center. Juvenescence has tried to IPO for several years. Many of their acquisitions have failed to make breakthroughs. AgeX is publicly traded below $1/share, underfunded and not making much progress. Unity’s lead clinical trial failed. Life Biosciences has yet to launch a clinical trial, although they raised $82MM in 1H, 2022 with plans for a trial in 2H, 2023. On the positive side, they found a way to restore vision in old mice.
Funding from the super-wealthy has not yet been a good indicator for human success. However, this will not stop the rich and powerful from continuing to try.
New Super-Wealthy Anti-Aging Companies
From 2021-2022, there is another cycle of new anti-aging companies funded by the super wealthy. Most are focused on rejuvenation via Induced Tissue Response (#iTR). Once again they are paying top dollar to acquire prestigious scientists. These anti-aging companies include:
- Altos Labs (@AltosLabs)
- Launched in 2022 with $3B in funding from Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Russian billionaire Yuri Milner.
- Led by Hal Barron, former head of Calico.
- Paying million-dollar salaries to recruit top talent.
- Hired an all-star team of scientists including Shinya Yamanaka, Wolf Reik and Peter Walter as well as former Life Biosciences luminaries Steve Horvath, Manuel Serrano and Juan Carlos Izpisua Belmonte.
- Pursuing rejuvenation solutions using labs in SF, the UK and Japan.
- There is significant skepticism on whether epigenetic cellular reprogramming can succeed in safely increasing healthspan and lifespan.
- Cambrian Biosciences
- Founded by German billionaire Christian Angermayer. Raised over $160MM.
- Pursuing multiple anti-aging drug ventures start-ups in hub and spoke model.
- Led by James Peyer who founded the first global longevity venture fund, Apollo Ventures. Top scientists include Georg Terstappen and Daisy Robinton.
- NewLimit (@newlimit)
- Launched in 2022 with $105MM in funding from Coinbase billionaire Brian Armstrong who is the co-founder. He plans to add more funding as needed.
- Scientists include Alex Marson and Mark Davis.
- Retro Bioscience
- Launched in 2022 with $180MM in funding from secret investors.
- Bay Area company led by Joe Betts-Lacroix with expert advisors including Jeff Kindler (CEO, Pfizer), Vadim Gladyshev and Kristen Fortney.
- Plans to use cellular reprogramming, senescence and plasma-derived therapies.
Anti-Aging Company Contenders
Will the high-priced all-star teams succeed or will smaller funded, but established and practical competitors beat them to market? Here are a few intriguing contenders, among many.
- BioAge Labs
- Launched in 2015 and led by Kristen Fortney and Eric Morgen.
- Have raised $127MM to fund initial clinical trials.
- Pipeline focused on multi-omic solutions for muscle-aging and the aging immune system.
- Clinical trials to date have not moved forward. A COVID-focused trial concluded in 1H, 2022. Results have not been published.
- Current focus is on initiating a Phase 1B trial on raising apelin protein levels in aged adults for reducing muscle atrophy, improved muscle repair, increased energy and increasing grip strength.
- Shift Bioscience (@ShiftBioscience)
- Launched in 2017. Multiple rounds of seed funding.
- Machine learning framework to understand causes of cellular rejuvenation by analyzing genes.
- Developed biological aging clock AltumAge, which incorporates age acceleration for certain pathologies such as cancer to increase accuracy.
- Turn.Bio (@turn_bio)
- Launched in 2019. Undisclosed funding amounts.
- Develops mRNA medicines that induce the body to heal itself by instructing specific cells to fight disease or repair damaged tissue. Focused on reprogramming the epigenome – a network of chemical compounds and proteins that control cell functions by influencing which genes are active – to restore capabilities that are often lost with age.
- ERA(™) platform to develop tailored therapies for age-related diseases.
- Pipeline includes preclinical treatments for skin, eyes, muscles, osteoarthritis and cartilage.
Anti-Aging Companies Conclusion
Hopefully, many of these companies become successful. However, there is no single panacea for aging. Anti-aging medical solutions require addressing many of the 23 Key Health Factors for 2023. Individual drugs and medical treatments cannot address all of them as comprehensive solutions are required. A deep level of collaboration across multiple companies and multiple modalities will be needed. It will be interesting to see which companies emerge to take this role once further progress is made.
Thanks for taking time to read this article and care about your health. As your reward, we leave you with this Will Rogers line, “We could certainly slow the aging process down if it had to work its way through Congress.”