Longevity Industry Landscape Overview Volume II: The Business of Longevity

The second volume has been published in the Longevity Industry Landscape Overview compendium. The various authors and funding organizations aim to survey all of the participants in the present scientific and business communities focused on the treatment of aging as a medical condition. The focus is on breadth of coverage rather than depth, so this is another sizable document. Once past the introductory sections, most of it is useful for reference rather than reading. But you should still take a look at those opening chapters.

"The majority of politicians and the general public are unaware of the tremendous potential benefits of regenerative medicine. They fail to grasp the profound implications that extended longevity could have on the global economy, on their respective nation's economic survival, and on their own lifespan and health." When did geroscience become a science? When did longevity become an industry? When did it become a 'business'? For almost all of recorded history, it has been a fantasy. During the first half of the 20th century, healthy life extension meant either devising specialised techniques for treating specific diseases or nursing and elderly care. This remained the case throughout both the scientific and industrial revolutions, until the 1940s, when the metabolic processes of aging became an area of modest scientific interest.

Thus began what would eventually become modern geroscience. It retained something of a fringe reputation even into the 21st century. Driven by academic curiosity and the vague hope of modest biomedical intervention, the science plodded along, gaining occasional insights for half a century under the title of 'biomedical gerontology'. As biomedical gerontology advanced, parallel technologies such as regenerative medicine and gene therapy, which dealt with the constituent phenomena of aging but using the language of engineering, had been been coming of age. In the mid-2000s technologists began to notice that the science was ahead of the technology and that the identification of the problem was nearly complete. The solution lay in the technology, which was then, as now, woefully underdeveloped.

This was the period when the concept of 'rejuvenation biotechnology' emerged - not an industry unto itself but an arm of regenerative medicine. Propped up by various non-profits, rejuvenation biotechnology staggered forward into the second decade of the century. In 2013 Google launched the healthcare venture Calico (the 'California Life Company', whose stated remit is healthy human life extension by technological means), an act which dramatically raised the profile of healthy life extension as a legitimate, technological pursuit, thereby bringing the notion of a longevity industry from the fringe to the cutting edge of biomedicine. If 2013 raised the science of longevity out of obscurity, 2017 did the same for the industry, marking the end of a long winter of non-investment in longevity technologies.

The net benefit of all these developments has been that those initially highly skeptical of the formation of a veritable, scientifically validated and profitable longevity industry began to sit up and take notice. The 2015 investment boom was followed by another boom in 2017 in longevity biomedicine. This was the period in which investors finally began to equate rejuvenation with repair. That is, with regenerative medicine. After a long period of dismissal, an increasing number of prominent scientists have come to work for and publicly endorse efforts to enable and accelerate progress in this area, changing the face of medicine and improving the prospects for human lifespan - and healthspan. This, however, has not yet become a fully fledged commercial industry.

Link: http://longevity.international/longevity-industry-landscape-overview-volume-2


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