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An Interview with Aubrey de Grey of the SENS Research Foundation

Aubrey de Grey, advocate for radical life extension and originator of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) research programs, has derived a great deal of mileage from his assessment that it is possible to achieve life spans of 1000 years or longer, as illustrated in the brief interview below. Life spans of centuries and longer can be achieved by progress in biotechnology sufficient to bring aging under medical control, but the important point is that this progress doesn't have to happen all at once. For so long as the early rejuvenation therapies are good enough to add a decade or two of healthy life, that gives additional time to improve those therapies and obtain access to greater and more efficient means of rejuvenation. A tipping point of actuarial escape velocity is reached and remaining healthy life spans increase at a faster pace than one year of additional life expectancy with every passing calendar year. For there onwards, life expectancy is no longer limited by aging and disease.

Could Human Beings Live For 1,000 Years?

What have been the major advances at SENS and why haven't life-extension programmes gone mainstream yet?

Over the past two years we've had a slew of breakthrough publications in journals such as Science, Nature Communications and Nucleic Acids Research that reported key advances against the most intractable components of aging. It's no exaggeration to say that in at least a couple of cases we have broken through logjams that have stalled key areas for over 15 years. You may feel that eight years is a long time to be only making such preliminary, step-one breakthroughs, but you'd be wrong - step one is always the hardest, and that is why nearly all research, whether in academia or in industry, is immensely biased towards the low-hanging fruit and against the high-risk high-reward work that is so essential for long-term progress. We exist as an independent foundation for precisely that reason. But, saying that, I must also stress that we are already showing great success in taking enough steps so that our programmes become investable. The atherosclerosis one was the first of, at this point, five start-ups that have emerged from our projects - covering conditions as diverse as macular degeneration, senescent cells, amyloid in the heart, and organ transplantation.

What are the key therapies that will create a 1,000-year-old human?

It's critical to understand, and yet it's almost universally overlooked, that my prediction of such long lifespans for people who are already alive divides into two phases. The first phase consists of the therapies that SENS Research Foundation is working on right now, along with parallel initiatives that have achieved sufficient traction that we don't need to be their engine room anymore; most importantly, a variety of stem-cell therapies. The other ones are also one or another kind of damage repair or obviation - removing waste products, rendering mutations harmless, restoring elasticity. They combine to restore the molecular, cellular structure and composition of the middle-aged (or older) body, and thereby its function (both mental and physical), to how it was as a young adult.

But that's only the first phase and I have always stressed that I don't anticipate more than about 30 years of additional life arising from it. That's a lot when compared to anything we can do today, but it's not four digits. My prediction of four digits comes from the second phase, which arises from the critical fact that phase one buys time. If you're 60 and you get a therapy that makes you biologically 30, then, yes, you will be biologically 60 again by the time you're chronologically 90. Sure enough, the therapies won't really work any more, because the damage that has made you biologically 60 again is, by definition, the more difficult damage, the damage that the therapies don't repair. But this is 30 years on, and that's an insanely long time in any technology, including medical technology. So, when you're 90 you will have access not just to the same therapies that you had 30 years ago, but to improved ones that can repair a whole bunch of the damage that the first-generation ones couldn't. So they will work. They still won't be 100 percent perfect, but they won't need to be; they will just need to be good enough to 're-rejuvenate' you so that you won't be biologically 60 for the third time until you're chronologically 150 or whatever. And so on.

What is more important in reducing aging: medical therapies, drugs, or lifestyle changes?

I'm all for lifestyle optimisation, but you have phrased your question as a comparison and, for sure, the answer is that lifestyle optimisation can only, ever, make a very small difference - a year or two - to how long we stay healthy and thereby to how long we live. Now, medicines and drugs that we have today are equally modest in their effects, and that's why people die today at ages only slightly older than their parents. But within the next couple of decades we have, I believe, a very good chance to change that scenario completely.

Is anyone testing your therapies at the moment on humans?

Sure, but only a subset of them. Some of the easiest components of SENS are already in clinical trials, such as stem cells for Parkinson's disease. Others, including ones spun out from SENS Research Foundation's research, may get there within a year or two. But some are probably 10-15 years out still. Those ones are just as critical as the easier ones, so we are working as hard as we can to accelerate them, but we're devastatingly limited in that regard by shortage of funds.

Since the aging research community was quite hostile towards discussions of life extension up until comparatively recently, it took an outsider to point out the obvious: that it seemed plausible to achieve rejuvenation by repairing the molecular damage that appears to cause aging, and given even initially modest rejuvenation, the inevitable outcome would be actuarial escape velocity and life spans that stretched off into the far distance. It has to be said that there are advocates in the community these days who are quite uncomfortable with discussions of radical life extension of decades and centuries: but it is very, very important to put it on the table. Many of the strongest supporters in the early days of rejuvenation research were drawn to SENS by the prospect of greatly extending life spans, and by the first reasonable, plausible program that offered the potential to achieve this goal.

Further, consider that the aging research community now includes a great many people willing to argue for and work on approaches that might add a couple of years of additional life. Like the Longevity Dividend folk, they put forward grand proposals for large-scale funding, but only aim to extend human life expectancy by 5 or 10 years by 2030 or 2040, and explicitly deny any interest in extending maximum life spans. These unambitious goals are to be achieved through approaches such as calorie restriction mimetics, autophagy enhancement, or other metabolic tinkering. This is weak medicine, and if it is the only argument being put forward to the public, then we have already lost. There is no real difference between achieving nothing and achieving the Longevity Dividend; we all still age and die on roughly the same schedule.

If billions are to be spent and the careers of thousands of researchers devoted to this field, then let it be in pursuit of technologies that have the chance of bringing an end to aging. Let the goal be to build rejuvenation therapies that can in principle prevent and reverse the causes of degeneration, not just slow it down a little. The bottom line is that we must advocate for rejuvenation research and radical life extension if we want to benefit from meaningful results in our lifetimes. If we don't carry this flag forward, then we either end up with the Longevity Dividend or nothing, and our lives end in pain and decline in the same way and on the same schedule as those of our ancestors, with the sole difference being that we turned our backs on the opportunity that they never had.

Comments

It is cool that this interview was done with "Billionaire" magazine! It is also gratifying that Aubrey was ridiculed 15 years ago but now is commanding respect in biogerontology.

Posted by: Morpheus at July 17th, 2017 10:44 PM

Reason, I agree with you in sentiment but at the same time I'm not sure what more we can do in practice.

I've said it before and I still strongly believe that there is precious little we can do to affect the mainstream and public opinion on this topic. So our only option is to build an industry which works independently from the public healthcare system.

Posted by: Anonymoose at July 17th, 2017 11:36 PM

"It has to be said that there are advocates in the community these days who are quite uncomfortable with discussions of radical life extension of decades and centuries: but it is very, very important to put it on the table. Many of the strongest supporters in the early days of rejuvenation research were drawn to SENS by the prospect of greatly extending life spans, and by the first reasonable, plausible program that offered the potential to achieve this goal."

I can't agree more. If this were only for curing AD or PD, I would never had come here.

Posted by: Antonio at July 18th, 2017 1:53 AM

I think it was a good interview considering the medium and target audience.

The journalist did good in mentionning the names of the biggest and/or most famous donors who've contributed to the SRF : it shows the wealthy readership that there are wealthy people just like them who've believed and "invested" in what is a promising venture.

The journalist was also fair with Aubreay instead of depicting him as an eccentric snake oil seller.

Posted by: Spede at July 18th, 2017 1:57 AM

@Antonio: I totally agree. However for the ordinary early audience 1000 years might be to much. Therefore AdG I think seemed to change his strategy a bit at the last conference when the speaker said AdG had to say something about the 1000 year life span. Im sure it's achievable but then the rejuvenation biotechnologies are much more perfected and the technologies of our societies are also much more perfected (quantum teleportation). In my opinion all human lifespans under 200 years are low. From 200 to 500 are intermediary and 500 to 1000 high.

Posted by: Norse at July 18th, 2017 2:25 AM

I predict that as soon as rejuvenation becomes available for good, the ethical debate will be overwhelmed by the success of rejuvenation therapies. Its just in the human nature to be suspicious about fundamental change or paradigm shifts. I think we need only to get to a certain point and the resistance will break down.

Posted by: K. at July 18th, 2017 3:16 AM

Norse: What conference?

Posted by: Antonio at July 18th, 2017 3:18 AM

Not bad for 8 years work! And Aubrey seems pretty upbeat about how things are going - a couple of years for the first trials of some SENS treatments to 10-15 years for the ones still being researched. All in all I am increasingly optimistic he is going to pull this off.

As K. says, as soon as we have some good results in humans (even if only an incomplete subset of the SENS suite of therapies) and the investors will pile in, the ethical debate will change in our favour, and a virtuous cycle of better and better treatments will begin.

The main concern I still have is not: will the 1st, 2nd and 3rd generation of therapies come in time, but what will their price point be? Presumably the quicker you want it the more expensive it will be!

Posted by: Mark at July 18th, 2017 3:55 AM

Mark: That has been discussed many times. The therapies will be paid by the state or made cheap in any other way (changing patent law or whathever). It would be suicidal for any given country not doing so. Current situation is much more expensive.

Posted by: Antonio at July 18th, 2017 5:05 AM

For pricing, despite a lot of complaining on all sides, the pharmaceutical pricing is pretty good. In the industrialized nations few go without a drug that could be clearly beneficial for them. So the prices are low enough that near everyone has access, while high enough that the drug companies can continue to develop new medicines, properly manufacture existing medications, etc.

We tend to hear when the systems are failing someone, whereas we don't hear when someone is prescribed a medicine and their private or public insurer simply pays the cost.

What I could see when anti-aging medicine gets approved for marketing, is some turbulence in pricing for the first couple of years.

Posted by: aa3 at July 18th, 2017 5:38 AM

Highly speculative of course, but I think SENS will only go through 2 - 4 major revisions before the project is complete. Nanotechnology can finalize the SENS program, and it needn't take the form of atomically precise molecular machines to do so. Softer and more bio-mimetic constructs that bridge the gap between nanotech and synthetic biology would be good enough to accomplish all relevant medical applications. The result from such a course of technological development would be even more radical than 1000-year lifespans... it would be "morphological freedom" - the ability to choose one's physical embodiment, whether from a range of human attributes or even fanciful ones.

Despite what makes for the best for PR or elicits the fewest scoffs, biotechnology and nanotechnology will turn out to have inner logic and momentum of their own, just as industrialism and information technology did. The Hollywood, TV and Facebook groupthink of early 21st century humanity won't describe the limits of still nascent technology. People of 2117 won't care about the average person's comfort-zone back in 2017 just as we hardly look back to 1917 for such guidance.

Posted by: José at July 18th, 2017 5:38 AM

An interview with a "billionaire" magazine is quite an opportunity. If this type of messaging works well we'll know soon. I still wonder why people like Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page don't jump on the bandwagon.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 18th, 2017 5:58 AM

There is nothing wrong with talking about longer lives, and indeed we do so at LEAF. However the key to convinving the public is not selling them longevity and focusing on that aspect but in health, independence and cures of age-related diseases. We know this because partride, pew, harrison and other studies tell us this!

The public will accept longer lives if one provisio of that increased lifespan is continued good health. We have looked the social studies and the reasearch and this is our conclusion. It must also be the conclusion Aubrey has reached as he talks about health with lifespan being a side effect. If this is what makes supporting the technology more palatable then that is what has to be be done.

It is essential to frame things in ways people can understand and relate to and SENS is doing that and enjoying success, the majority of radical message using LE groups do not enjoy much success in general because they have failed to follow that example. It isnt about being timid or hiding the objective but its all about how that goal is framed, described and pitched to the average person.

Posted by: Steve Hill at July 18th, 2017 7:23 AM

@Steve An interesting interview with Belmonte I read recently - I think he put it vert aptly - the 150 year healthspan - is what he said people would like to hear about. Not necessarily the 150 year lifespan.

So an easy way to change our message would be to switch radical life extension for radical health extension. It means the same. But semantics are important.

Life - it's more or less neutral to the public.
Health - that's always a positive image.

Posted by: Anonymoose at July 18th, 2017 8:18 AM

This is definitely the case. I have no doubt it is the right strategy to put the stress on health and not on life extension although the two are of course connected. I'm pretty sure it will make a very big difference depending on what strategies to promote rejuvenation therapies are deployed. You're on the right track, Steve.

Also I agree with your view, Anonymoose. Health definitely has a more positive image than life which has mixed associations.

Posted by: K. at July 18th, 2017 8:29 AM

I'm with Steve too, based on my own experiences talking to people about life extension vs. defeating the diseases of aging. I gain far more traction with the latter.

There seems to be some strange alchemy that transforms certain people into lifespan enthusiasts such as we all are here, but the majority of people never make that leap and therefore we must adapt our message to fit with something they can envisage supporting.

Posted by: Mark at July 18th, 2017 8:41 AM

"Like the Longevity Dividend folk, they put forward grand proposals for large-scale funding, but only aim to extend human life expectancy by 5 or 10 years by 2030 or 2040, and explicitly deny any interest in extending maximum life spans."

Now that is conservative! Definately not on board with that tame idea.

We are following the lead of SENS and the message seems to work, still talk about longevity but its always clear that this additional life would be healthy. People general react well to this we have found. Thanks Anonymoose, K and Mark for the support, we think we are on the right path here.

Posted by: Steve Hill at July 18th, 2017 8:59 AM

Hi, very nice interview...

just my 2 cents,,

''The first phase consists of the therapies that SENS Research Foundation is working on right now, along with parallel initiatives that have achieved sufficient traction that we don't need to be their engine room anymore; most importantly, a variety of stem-cell therapies.''

''But that's only the first phase and I have always stressed that I don't anticipate more than about 30 years of additional life arising from it.''

''...the second phase, which arises from the critical fact that phase one buys time. If you're 60 and you get a therapy that makes you biologically 30, then, yes, you will be biologically 60 again by the time you're chronologically 90. Sure enough, the therapies won't really work any more, because the damage that has made you biologically 60 again is, by definition, the more difficult damage, the damage that the therapies don't repair. But this is 30 years on, and that's an insanely long time in any technology, including medical technology. So, when you're 90 you will have access not just to the same therapies that you had 30 years ago, but to improved ones that can repair a whole bunch of the damage that the first-generation ones couldn't. So they will work. They still won't be 100 percent perfect, but they won't need to be; they will just need to be good enough to 're-rejuvenate' you so that you won't be biologically 60 for the third time until you're chronologically 150 or whatever. And so on.''

IT's great that we can look forward to at least 30 years (possibly) of lifespan extension.

I wonder about those 'stem cell therapies', it may end up that damage repair is not enough, and stem cell therapies are needed - but stem cells age too (replicative senenescence and telomere loss/not enough telomerase). Anonymoose's suggestion of niche total removal and replacement to a new 'undamaged' niche could be the only solution for stem cell replacement is useless (for you keep a niche that produces damaged/aged stem cells, it's just patch up work and we know how that turned out in mice studies (patch up work doesn't work if it's not strong enough or if it does not solve underlying Problems (replicative senescence, stem cell aging, and so forth), that's why when Aubrey de Grey says :

'' They still won't be 100 percent perfect, but they won't need to be; they will just need to be good enough to 're-rejuvenate' you so that you won't be biologically 60 for the third time until you're chronologically 150 or whatever. And so on.''
I want to beleive it but I hold a hold. like..'hold on a minute', is this even feasible...
the rejuvenation repeat ad vitam eternam thing..On paper yes, you should be Biologically Back to 60 years 30..when you 90 Chronologically...and 150 later...rinse lather repeat etc...but really really ? It does make sense (on paper/theory), in real,

I think there is more to this, it is too simplistic it does not take account of many factors such as these Problems (which some of the 7 therapies do not address) of course if we have 30 more years..we have TIME to find Solutions, but even then if we go back 30 years before, we see sort of pattern where 30 years before we were pretty much at the same 'stage', remember that this webiste (fightaging) and SENS have been started ovre a DECADE ago, and still nothing more than a few senescence 'leads' that's it..you see how slow it is I don't mean to be a party poooer I really love Parties and this is a Celebration but let's not be foolish and lie to ourselves. Let's be positive but not gullible (I think). I'm not being a nasty naysayer (and should shut up if nothing good to say) I really wish this will work from the bottom of my heart - of my EMBITTERED (Embattled/Battered) heart you might say ? ATHEROSCLEROSED HEART that's why...when you walk in my shoes one day you will unnderstand...and feel deathly pain like you've never felt, when you could DIE TOMORROW.

So please understand when I raed this I want to believe it, but I hold a certain 'hold/restraint'; I know he means well :

''The atherosclerosis one was the first of, at this point, five start-ups that have emerged from our projects - covering conditions as diverse as macular degeneration, senescent cells, amyloid in the heart, and organ transplantation. ''

I'm so happy that he is findind solutions to my disease.

On the 1000 year lifespan, I would tell him let's concentrate on making it to 150-500 it will be pretty good there, and then we can aim the 1000. Why I'm skeptic is because of these PRoblems that AdG seems oblivious too or thinks he has the answer, like thinking that the 'Other' therapies will come in 30 years to 'Save the Day'; other therapies will happen for sure some might be InCREDIBLE and make life extension but pls let's not hold our breaths TOO much to on that. That is the 'scientific 'restrain yourself' from 'outlandish' claim' in me I guess. If I talk to my family of a 1000 year lifespan, they like the idea and how it sounds, but they laugh it off as scifi bs and that when I'll be 90 years old that is in 50 some years; I will be too late because I will need to have PAID for these therapies 30 years before and had Them.

@aa3

Hi aa3 !

''For pricing, despite a lot of complaining on all sides, the pharmaceutical pricing is pretty good. In the industrialized nations few go without a drug that could be clearly beneficial for them. So the prices are low enough that near everyone has access, while high enough that the drug companies can continue to develop new medicines, properly manufacture existing medications, etc.''

AdG never responded to that or was asked a price for his therapies (?), what do you think will be a 'reasonable' cost once ALL of FDA bodies and so forth (this could take a decade for their approval or else be a medical tourism thing at first) I've said 'OK' let em have it.

(Sorry, I woke up on the wrong foot groggy. ). I'm still super happy that he gets TALKED about and SENS is having more exposure (still, it is still peanut crumbs and most people don't give a f...as I've said before - it's there on a silver plate FREE and they will still not eat it. How are you suppose to convince them when after all this 'health' improvement talk we see millions die anyway. I think I know why, they do not give a f... and want to continue their life that puts them at risk (no exercising, eat shit/crapfood, don't mind, don'T want to live all that long, obese, smoke like a cheminy, take no supplement, just don't give a f..). I would tell them you WILL give a F..when you are hit by a FREIGHTRAIN of death like I was and feel pain when you are about to die from your bad lifestyle. But that's what it is with people these day, they need an Epiphany or 'NEAR_DEATH' moment to feel 'ALIVE' Again and 'wake up' because soon they will go to the tomb.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: CANanonymity at July 18th, 2017 12:47 PM

"I wonder about those 'stem cell therapies', it may end up that damage repair is not enough, and stem cell therapies are needed - but stem cells age too (replicative senenescence and telomere loss/not enough telomerase)."

That's non-sense. SENS stem cells will not have telomerase nor ALT genes.

Posted by: Antonio at July 18th, 2017 1:04 PM

@CANanonymity:

I can't agree more. It summons up my own thoughts.

Posted by: Norse at July 18th, 2017 1:06 PM

@Antonio

Hi Antonio!

Thanks for your response; But that's the thing - how then can stem cell survive ? I don't understand that. The SENS stem cells will age (?)... What I mean is that no matter how much amount of SENS stem cells you throw at the body - it will not stop the aging in the stem cells themselves; the New stem cells that will be added regularly will only offset the old dying ones.
Stem cells suffer from telomere loss too, if no telomerase it'S even worse because the telomeres can't be stopped from shortening. I know that major reason is to curb stem cell cancers and other cancers from overt telomerase/ALT high-jacking appropriation pathways.

So that's the thing : stem cell therapy (of the highest/youngest quality like AMMS/embroynic fetal like) only slows stem cell decline in the niche. The niche overall still 'ages' and produces aged stem cells that go on to differentiate into 'aged/damaged' cells (Thats' the point Anonymoose was making - and that the only solution was to Entirely Remove the Niche and Replace it with a New Fetal-like/Undamaged Niche/With No Lipofuscin in the stem cells, that way the stem cells in it would differentiate into 'undamaged' cells; this, in theory, would allow eternal life for you could (supposedly) circumvent the Replicative Senescence telomere-loss problem of somatic cells). Anyway, I'm just wondering...

@Norse

Hi Norse ! THanks for that !

Posted by: CANanonymity at July 18th, 2017 1:54 PM

Thanks for the link,

Stem cells and tissue engineering: RepleniSENS

''The first method involves using various methods to deliver factors that "reprogram" these cells from the mature state into the embryonic stem-cell-like state, generating what are called "induced pluripotent stem cells." A variation on this method allows scientists to take cells that are of a different kind from the cells that are needed, but present in the same tissue, and reprogram them into the needed cells without first passing through the embryonic-stem-cell-like state. For instance, such methods have been used to turn cells taken from the skin-like supporting tissues that knit around the heart muscle into needed heart muscle cells.

The second method of creating new embryonic-like cells from adult cells is to fuse an egg cell from a donor with cells from the person needing fresh cells, using the experimental technique of somatic cell nuclear transfer (or "therapeutic cloning").

In both cases, one can give some of a person's cells the embryonic-stem-cell-like ability to turn into any cell needed to treat age-related disease and disability, and to produce as many cells as are needed to do the job. Because these cells come from the same person who needs them, there is no risk of immune rejection. And whereas cells and organs donated from another person come with a significant burden of aging damage that accumulated while they were inside the donor, these new cells can be biologically "young," free of any defects that are present in the native cells (such as mutations or other aging damage).

Scientists can then use biochemical cues to 'nudge' the cells to transform themselves into cells of the needed type: neurons for the brain, myocytes for the heart, and so on. They can also use the techniques of tissue engineering to build tissues and organs out of these cells.''

So this is basically akin to replacing the stem cell niche but not exactly. If it does the same thing then that would be all we need and replacing the stem cell niche would be futile.

Yet, I think why have iPSCs therapies and other 'Embryonic/Fetal/Cord/Amnyotic' stem cell therapies failed to make much lifespan extension ? That seems what ReplenSENS is, iPSCs (stem cell reprogramming) make reprogrammed stem cells from the 'aged' cells of the old donor or fuse them with an egg cell from another donor (these egg cell rely on telomerase for their ).

''In humans, however, telomerase is expressed only in male germ cells, stem cells, and cancer cells. Notably, oocytes, eggs, zygotes, and cleavage...''

''Following fertilization and activation of the egg, embryonic cells undergo dramatic telomere lengthening [9, 31, 38, 39] Telomere Length Reprogramming in Embryos and Stem Cells''

by Telomerase, Topoisomerase and Ku-67 TRF1 TRF2 POT1 Telomeric Shelterin Proteins.
So, basically, what they are doing like in iPSCs reprogramming is relengthening the telomeres of the pluripotent stem cells by activating telomerase, just like egg cells/sperm do.

To cut telomerase and ALT can make stem cell age, they rely on that but unlike primordial germ cells, they are not sufficient to counter telomere attriation in other Types of stem cells.

Also, studies that have used stem cell injection therapy (the embryonic pristine type) have seen a slight boost of lifespan extension (even MLSP) in mice and increase in healthspan/average lifespan. But nothing that was dramatic. This muddies greatly the whole stem cell thing as a repeatable Rejuvenation thing as AdG says to be biologically 60 at 90, repeat, 150 chronologically and so forth..perhaps, that is where Anonymoose suggestion lies, stem cell introduction and replacing is not enough, you must go 'at the source' the Niche. Replace it, Totally, all the time, forget about stem cell injection/patching up; replace the Niche altogether for it is There that was source our tissue-repairing capability. Anyway, thanks for the link again.

Posted by: CANanonymity at July 18th, 2017 2:43 PM

@ Daniel Tanza : Just a few months ago they got a 10m USD commitment from Herr Michael Greve.

Posted by: Spede Pasanen at July 18th, 2017 5:00 PM

No Spede - SENS gets $5 million over a 5 year period through Greve

They can easily piss that away on a few large animal studies

I don't know - the whole thing is a bit odd.

Why put any money into SENS? - Why not just invest it in Biotime stock? - it's a public vehicle

I think they are in financial trouble

Posted by: Daniel Tanza at July 18th, 2017 5:09 PM

@Daniel Tanza
If you bother to look at their annual report with Greve's generous donation their revenue for 2016 was twice what they had in 2015.

Hopefully the research they are doing now will produce viable patents like the Lysoclear one.
I'm not sure who holds the intellectual property for the 2015 glucosepane breakthrough and the following research from it. That could easily keep them afloat for another 5 years on it's own if not for longer.
Treating diabetes and skin aging? A large market. Lots of money.

So, generally speaking they are not in financial trouble.
I suspect it is the opposite - SENS is well financed currently - better than ever before.
Could always be better of course.

My conclusion is this - it's a matter of validation rather than anything else. If someone works at a high position for a big up and coming corporation the rich will definitely take greater notice of him( and it proves he's not a crazy person), that makes it easier to sell a charity to them.

Posted by: Anonymoose at July 18th, 2017 6:37 PM

Agreed with Anonymoose. Both parties will benefit.

Biotime gets to add Aubrey's (no longer repelling) reputation to its portfolio and also benefit from his advices. Aubrey gets to raise the profile of SENS whilst orienting the research of another company towards SENS-based treatments.

Posted by: Spede at July 19th, 2017 12:53 AM

"World-Renowned Aging Researcher and Biomedical Gerontologist to Lead AgeX's Research"

World-Renowned Aging Researcher... Things have changed a lot in the last decade.

@Daniel Tanza: Yes, 1M for SRF and 1M for Project21 per year. At this point in time, some SENS strategies are best pursued at an enterprise (or translational) level rather than at a NGO (or preclinical) level (for example, senolytics), so basically, funding is the same, but distributed in a different way.

Posted by: Antonio at July 19th, 2017 1:17 AM

I don't think so - but time will tell

Biotime doesn't NEED Aubrey de Grey for "New Technology Discovery"

Mike West is one of the stem cell industries big shots with 00's of patents on different technologies

To help the "anti-aging" theme at BTX, fine.

The problem is the fact that Aubrey has been brought 'in house" as a VP and NOT a scientific board member with only observer status

That poses a major conflict for any stem cell company that comes along via the SENS path

Especially if they don't want to be part of, or exposed to, the BioTime machine

Posted by: Daniel Tanza at July 19th, 2017 3:13 AM

Firstly, it's Aubrey who has been employed, not SRF. Has he says in the interview, SRF is a 503 and can't be employed or cooperate with a company.

Secondly, I highly doubt that they will pay millions to Aubrey, so that will change nothing for SRF finances.

Thirdly, as Spede and I said above, Michael Greeve's donations rougly replace Aubrey's heritage, so SRF's budget is roughly the same as before, around 4-5 millions.

Posted by: Antonio at July 19th, 2017 5:02 AM

Sorry - it just doesn't feel right

It would be analogous to him joining Pfizer tomorrow as a technology scout in the business development department

There is a reason firewalls are built between corporate venture investors and their business partners - to avoid cherry picking, squashing of competitive portfolio ideas, etc.

This is bad governance

I won't say any more on the topic

Posted by: Daniel Tanza at July 19th, 2017 6:09 AM

Assuming for a moment that Aubrey's driving motivation hasn't changed, I'd say he wants to do more work himself on bringing the SENS projects to market. If you look a few years ahead it's quite obvious that NOW is the time to start with it.
We'll see how he handles the conflicting interests of these two jobs.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 19th, 2017 11:10 AM

I don't want to extend the off-topic too much, but I don't quite understand what is the conflict here. After all, SENS research results are public. Is the problem that Biotime will influence which research will SRF choose? I don't think they need a $4M small non-profit for doing their research. Surely they have much deeper pockets.

Posted by: Antonio at July 19th, 2017 4:09 PM

I'm thinking of basic stuff that happens with two jobs in parallel:
- He has to split his time. Both jobs could use it.
- He cannot sign a NDA for SRF interested investors any more.
- Antitrust-laws limit the matters he is allowed to speak of.
- If he has an idea in his free time who patents and develops it?
- If he speaks in public does he speak for SRF or for Biotime?
- Is he allowed to criticize Biotime matters?
- etc.
I think Biotime and SRF will split the workload, because SRF concentrates on the things nobody else does. IMO that is a good thing, because SRF can use a reliable partner with deep pockets to bring their stuff to market. That doesn't stop others from trying the same.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 19th, 2017 10:33 PM

- He has to split his time. Both jobs could use it.

Yes. And if he was hired by the Buck Institute, the same would happen. That's not really a problem of profit vs non-profit conflict.

- He cannot sign a NDA for SRF interested investors any more.

SRF can't have investors. It's a non-profit.

- Antitrust-laws limit the matters he is allowed to speak of.

So he cannot speak of matters exclusive of Biotime. Same situation than before.

- If he has an idea in his free time who patents and develops it?

Ok, this can be a problem.

- If he speaks in public does he speak for SRF or for Biotime?

This too.

- Is he allowed to criticize Biotime matters?

And this.

Posted by: Antonio at July 19th, 2017 11:41 PM

- If he has an idea in his free time who patents and develops it?

Aubrey himself will choose in whose hands this idea will land, according to feasibility/time-to-market/management willingness/etc.

The advantage with this setting is, he's now got two different places where to develop and implement his ideas : within a non-profit or within a for-profit.

- If he speaks in public does he speak for SRF or for Biotime?

Often he should be able to tell whether it's for just one, or both, or neither.

- Is he allowed to criticize Biotime matters?

In theory he should be, but in practice it could more difficult. Though I'm betting Aubrey would be ready to quit his position on the spot if Biotime's practices were unacceptable to him.

Posted by: Spede at July 20th, 2017 2:29 AM

> SRF can't have investors. It's a non-profit.

Imagine some rich guy wants to create a spin-off using some of SRFs technology like Michael Greve did for project 21. While digging into this idea he doesn't want the word to get out to the competition so he doesn't lose his edge. That would be standard practise. Usually he'd want a NDA for that.

> So he cannot speak of matters exclusive of Biotime.

Antitrust-laws state he's not allowed to talk to others about what they're developing, because in doing so you could split up the market and that's not allowed. The penalties are pretty harsh. That makes it kind of hard for SRF to coordinate their spin-offs.

> Aubrey himself will choose in whose hands this idea will land, according to feasibility/time-to-market/management willingness/etc.

Let's hope so. I don't know american patent law, but in Europe he wouldn't be allowed to do that. He'd have to ask his employer first.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 20th, 2017 4:25 AM

Aber Matthias, I don't think in any American country or European country one is forced to divulge his personal ideas to his employer. AFAIK it's only when you start working on a project funded by your employer, or your project is tightly linked to what you worked on at your employer's company, that there are possible cases of IP infrigement if you try to go solo.

Posted by: Spede at July 20th, 2017 5:45 AM

"Imagine some rich guy wants to create a spin-off using some of SRFs technology"

Since it's an existing SRFs technology, it has been already published somewhere, so it's not possible to keep it secret.

Posted by: Antonio at July 20th, 2017 6:37 AM

No, it's not about IP infringement. If the invention is in the same industrial sector as the employer then in e.g. Germany (Arbeitnehmererfindungsgesetz) it's called "Diensterfindung" instead of "freie Erfindung" if it's a different sector. In the former case the employer has the right to choose what to do with it. As an executive you're also advised to be loyal to your employer by case law, or else you can be fired immediately. I guess that's true for the US, too.
So this all depends on the personal relationship between Aubrey and Michael West.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 20th, 2017 6:49 AM

> Since it's an existing SRFs technology, it has been already published somewhere, so it's not possible to keep it secret.

Yes, but spin-offs aren't created in one day. First you create a business plan while talking about technical details that aren't published. That alone can take a year or more. If the competition knows what you're doing they can block your path with lots of patents. That costs money. So you usually sign a NDA to keep your plans secret so they won't file worthless patents just to block you. Once the startup goes public the NDA expires.
Now you better think twice about creating a spin-off if the person you're talking to works for the competition.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 20th, 2017 7:20 AM

The Wiki page states :

"Dies gilt jedoch nur für so genannte Diensterfindungen. Das sind Erfindungen, die während der Dauer des Arbeitsverhältnisses gemacht wurden und aus der dem Arbeitnehmer im Betrieb obliegenden Tätigkeit entstanden sind oder maßgeblich auf Erfahrungen oder Arbeiten des Betriebes beruhen. Damit wird dem Anteil des Arbeitgebers an der Erfindung Rechnung getragen. Die übrigen Erfindungen sind so genannte freie Erfindungen."

I think it relates quite closely to what I wrote above : if it's an extension of a project at (and funded by) work, then going solo would be against the interests of your employer - and is a case of Diensterfindung. But if it's different enough (and even if it's in the same industrial sector), you're free to choose how and with whom to implement your novel idea.

Posted by: Spede at July 20th, 2017 7:22 AM

I guess the case law interpretes that a bit wider than you think. See here:

https://www.patente-stuttgart.de/index.php?page=publikationen_01005

"Eine Diensterfindung liegt immer dann vor, wenn sie im weitesten Sinne der technischen Branche zuzurechnen ist, in der der Arbeitgeber tätig ist. Hierzu ein Beispiel: Wenn das Unternehmen des Arbeitgebers elektronische Steuerungen für CNC-Maschinen entwickelt und herstellt, ist jede elektronische Schaltung oder Steuerung eine Diensterfindung, ganz gleich, ob sie für CNC-Maschinen oder bspw. für Windkraftanlagen gedacht ist."

Posted by: Matthias F at July 20th, 2017 8:06 AM

This is a good case of a discrepancy between the law on the one hand, and the interpretation of said law in the other. It's disputable but it remains "legal".

The takeaway of this judgement is that the qualification of a case as Diensterfindung or not, would be neither automatic not clear cut. So Aubrey would have some leeway here (assuming Diensterfindung does exist in the US law).

As an aside, my understanding is that this concept/intrepretation of Diensterfindung is chiefly Germanic.

Posted by: Spede at July 20th, 2017 8:24 AM

"Yes, but spin-offs aren't created in one day. First you create a business plan while talking about technical details that aren't published. That alone can take a year or more. If the competition knows what you're doing they can block your path with lots of patents. That costs money. So you usually sign a NDA to keep your plans secret so they won't file worthless patents just to block you. Once the startup goes public the NDA expires."

I still don't see the problem. Let's use an example. Let's suppose SRF achieves expression of one more mitochondrial gene in the nucleus. Probably publication in a journal would take a year or more, but surely they would publish the result in sens.org the same week they obtain it.

Or suppose SRF finds a drug candidate against ALT cancers. Will they stay silent for a year? I highly doubt so.

Posted by: Antonio at July 20th, 2017 10:26 AM

> I still don't see the problem. Let's use an example.

OK. Now Bill Gates comes along and gets interested. He sets up a team of people to look if they can find a business case. Should they get in contact with SRF for more information or not? If they contact SRF and Biotime has similar plans how is that supposed to work? Better don't risk that. If they decide to work secretly they can't hire/ask the best experts and SRF loses the opportunity for some donations. That's no good plan either. So what's left? Other scientists that are looking for a business partner.

Posted by: Matthias F at July 20th, 2017 1:01 PM

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