Reviewing Business Economics and Longevity Research

Researcher Leonid Gavrilov has moved his blog, Longevity Science. One of the recent posts in its new home is a draft review of "The Quest for Human Longevity: Science, Business, and Public Policy", published last September. Comments are requested, so take a look:

Most other popular books on human longevity are focused almost exclusively on scientific ideas and breakthroughs in life-extension research, and they typically avoid any money talks as inappropriate subject. ... This somewhat idealistic perspective is challenged in a new book, which describes in a great detail how important money is in modern entrepreneurial world of life-extension and anti-aging research business. The book provides an alternative, more realistic perspective that financial incentives are driving scientific innovations in anti-aging studies by stimulating researchers to take risks and to work really hard.

"The Quest for Human Longevity" goes beyond traditional curtains of financial secrecy when it describes the detailed history of eight corporations that were pursuing anti-aging and life-extension interventions recently -- Geron Corporation, Juvenon, Eukarion, BioMarker Pharmaceuticals, Elixir Pharmaceuticals, Helicon Therapeutics, Memory Pharmaceuticals, and Cortex Pharmaceuticals. Particularly interesting are the candid profiles of their scientific founders and top executives, which include Michael West, Bruce Ames, Stephen Spindler, Saul Kent, Cynthia Kenyon, Leonard Guarentee, David Sinclair, Eric Kandel and other prominent leaders and scientists.

Finance and economic behavior are indeed at the heart of everything - all the education, advocacy and activism surrounding healthy life extension is intended to craft an environment in which research funding is easier to come by (and in larger amounts), after all. In essence, we are trying to make more people aware of an economic proposition that is clear to us - that sufficient investment in real anti-aging research will bring huge returns.

Beyond that, thinking about the healthy life extension community and its progress in economic terms helps to make clear much that would otherwise be confusing. Why do certain ventures fail? Why is a particular field of research funded while others languish? Why does the disreputable "anti-aging" marketplace exist? Following the real and hypothetical paths of investment and profit, financial or otherwise - who pays, who benefits - is very much the way to understand the world of human action.

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