I mentioned Project|21 in yesterday's announcement of Michael Greve's $10 million pledge to SENS rejuvenation research and development, but I think it merits its own post. Not so very long ago the SENS Research Foundation engaged a specialist in high-end medical non-profit fundraising, and Project|21 is the outgrowth of that relationship, a program to raise the millions needed to take the first SENS therapies to readiness for human clinical trials over the next five years. To get to the point at which such a program is possible and practical required the years of groundwork and grassroots support that we as a community have provided: large donations always follow the crowd, and high net worth donors require advocates and thousands of supporters to light the way - and to continue those efforts. In effect, this launch of Project|21, alongside the advent of the first startups working on senescent cell clearance, marks a transition to a new stage of development for rejuvenation research following the SENS vision of repairing the cell and tissue damage that causes aging. Congratulations are due all round.
SENS Research Foundation today announced its Project|21 campaign to secure $50 million in private support from individual donors, foundations, and corporations. The goal of Project|21 is for SRF to partner with a new generation of visionary philanthropists, build the Rejuvenation Biotechnology industry, and bridge the most challenging gulf between research and treatment by enabling human clinical trials by 2021. Aubrey de Grey, founder and chief science officer of SENS Research Foundation said, "Ending aging will require large-scale investment to flow into a globally-recognized industry for rejuvenation biotechnology. Since we began in 2009, SENS Research Foundation has been putting all the pieces in place - core research groups, key players, shared knowledge, underlying tools - for the creation of this industry. The key programs funded by Project|21 can create an environment where the first damage repair interventions addressing specific age-related diseases will be brought to human clinical trials within five years."
The programs funded under Project|21 focus on three major barriers to the development of truly effective rejuvenation therapies. First, funding to convert promising basic research programs into solid investment candidates remains far too scarce. Second, there are too few opportunities for dynamic collaborations with mainstream regenerative medicine. Finally, there is little understanding of the regulatory pathways and clinical infrastructure these technologies will require. Project|21 addresses these three areas by creating a $15 million bridge fund to support promising early stage technologies; a center of excellence to deliver better opportunities for collaborative development of early stage programs; and a Rejuvenation Biotechnology Alliance Program to address challenges in regulation, manufacturing, and investment. The first donation received for Project|21 is a commitment from German internet entrepreneur Michael Greve's Forever Healthy Foundation for $5 million in philanthropic support over the next five years. In addition Michael Greve's company KIZOO Technology Ventures will be committing seed investments of $5 million in startups focused on bringing rejuvenation biotechnology treatments to market.