Is Anti-Aging The Next Gold Rush For Big Pharmaceutical Companies?

In an interview for NEO.LIFE, billionaire Jim Mellon predicts that markets will be filled with technology that could make people live past 100 years. Anti-aging technology is possibly the next huge investment area and will be making big waves in the biomedical field. Such discovery would be a big opportunity that every shareholder, investor, and businessman would want to venture into.

Anti Aging Before After

Anti Aging Before After

Anti-aging technology is at the root of so many biotech aspects. As witnessed by Jim while working with biotech and pharmaceutical institutions on cancer therapy. Anti-aging tech could supplement many of the existing technology we rely on. Most of these diseases pry on age and progress rapidly as the body becomes weaker with age.  The first way to harness this technology is by studying the current trends in the anti-aging industry.

Previous Attempts

This technology may be moving faster than we expected. He Jiankui once announced that he had produced gene-edited babies. The Chinese scientist upon announcing the news set off a global firestorm. Was it true or false? The scientist did not publish data to support his claim- his actions would be a breach of scientific conventions. Although gene editing is a promising evolution that may correct dangerous illness causing mutations even treat some diseases.

Jiankui claims that he used a gene editing technique known as Crispr to alter human embryo genes. He later implanted the embryos in a woman’s womb and she gave birth to two girls in November 2018. He added that he was able to successfully disable the protein that enables transmission of HIV. His research and experimentation-to make the body resistant to HIV- is illegal in most countries and China has put a stop to it pending investigation

Some researches show that Crispr can be used to edit many age-related components. Although Crispr has come a long way, using it to counter the aging process is still a new and complex process but may in the near future be an opportunity worth exploring for tech and health startups.  It will take time to understand the technology before committing resources and manpower to the innovation.

How Close are We?

An anti-aging researcher Nir Barzilai says that we may be closer than we thought. Unlike earlier when the anti-aging tech progress was tied to the novel technologies it may now be less discrete than envisioned earlier. In his Tame study he might prove just how the earlier provisions were wrong.

In the study involving 90,400 type2 diabetes patients, it was observed that those who took metformin- an inexpensive drug that is usually 1st choice, outlived those on other treatment modules. The Tame study was a way of collecting data and make a formal enquiry into the underlying process and ways in which metformin can create an anti-aging agent.

If metformin can aid in producing an anti-aging agent, then the bar for startups looking to venture into this market has been lowered considerably. Barzilai in his proposed research asked for a modest amount in funding with emphasis that although funding is key, it is not a limiting factor in anti-aging research. Companies looking to enter the anti-aging sector can get right in to it with whatever little resources they have with conviction that notable progress can be made.

Achievement

A startup Elysium has already proven this process can be done. Apart from making progress, it has a product in the market with a total funding of $31.2. Elysium Health is a testimony of that a lot can be achieved with a small budget. The product in the market boosts the human body’s nicotinamide adenine dinuncleotide (NAD) a compound naturally produced but decreases with time. Helping the body in producing NAD as time progresses, may be the key to unlocking the fountain of youth.

NAD is capable of extending the lifespan of yeasts. In a paper published in 2013, a 2-year old mouse exposed to NAD boosting properties, depicted tissue of a 6-month mouse. Elysium’s product is an attempt to produce such effects. It also is proof that startups have a chance to rival pharmaceutical giants in the anti-aging industry.

Conclusion

For those looking to tap into the anti-aging industry, you can start off by supporting research or investing in firms which are already conducting studies. There is already a variety of investors and stakeholders and also a huge marketplace for anti-aging tools. The only thing remaining is a product.

References
  • Metformin in Longevity Study (MILES)
  • Ding, Ai-Jun, et al. “Current Perspective in the Discovery of Anti-Aging Agents from Natural
    Products.” Natural Products and Bioprospecting, vol. 7, no. 5, 2017, pp. 335–404.
  • Ahn, Mi Young, et al. “Anti-Aging Effect and Gene Expression Profiling of Aged Rats Treated
    with G. Bimaculatus Extract.” Toxicological Research, vol. 31, no. 2, 2015, pp. 173–180.

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