An Interview with Tristan Edwards of Life Biosciences

Alongside Juvenescence, Life Biosciences is one of the first large investment concerns wholly dedicated to the growing longevity industry. The Life Biosciences principals take the approach of providing the extensive supporting infrastructure needed to wrap a company around a senior scientist in the field of aging research, and then guide their work towards commercialization. Most scientists have very little interest in founding a company, and in any case lack the skills needed to do so. This approach of providing an environment that operates in much the same way as academia from the perspective of the researcher, in which the business side of things is handled, is a good way to accelerate progress in a field that presently lacks a sufficiently large population of entrepreneurs for companies to emerge naturally at a good pace.

How far along is longevity in becoming a defined category for investors? Put it on a scale of 0-10 for us. If fintech has developed to a nine or a ten, where would you score longevity?

From an investment perspective I would say it's a one or a two. But I believe that will change very quickly. I think the scale will go from a two to an eight in the next four to five years. Like the Internet of Things, or Artificial Intelligence before it, in the next few years I can't imagine a single person on the planet not being aware of the ability to extend lifespan and healthspan, both as an industry and as a benefit to humankind.

So, a major shift in our thinking is on the way?

In 1903, the Wright brothers defied expectation and took their first flight. We have the photo of this on our office wall, to remind us of who we are. The idea of humans being able to fly back then was crazy; most people were saying it couldn't be done. Yet after they left the earth's gravity, it didn't take mankind years to accept it. We immediately forgot that it was crazy. All we needed was proof that it could be done, and we never looked back. That's exactly where we are with longevity sciences. Longevity research has been evolving as a legitimate science for many years. But I think we are at the cusp of dramatic change. We'll see more and more bright young minds focusing on longevity, and we will soon treat aging. Eventually, we're talking about adding another 20 - 30 years to the average lifespan with none of the diseases of aging: Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, type 2 diabetes, etc. In other words, not only expanding lifespan but what we call "healthspan," the period during which the individual can live a healthy, productive life.

Does all this development mean big institutional investors will soon be paying attention?

Plenty already are. The science, however, has to build to a point where the rounds are large enough for them to get involved. Once you start raising $100m to $200m rounds, they'll start paying real attention and investing. The rounds must be large enough for the mandates to allow and value checks must be in place in new areas; this can be tough to do. As the science progresses, we see the investment interest ramping up, with bigger contributors stepping in. A lot also depends on how quickly some institutions learn to adapt. By "adapt" I mean simply this: There's a long-held understanding that Big Pharma relies on illness for profits. But if they reframe their mission as being in the healthspan business, then the longevity revolution is valuable for them. It's my hope that Pharma embraces this change as a wonderful and necessary way for them to evolve their business in a much more effective way.



"From an investment perspective I would say it's a one or a two" I know he says this because he is expecting it to be so huge in a few years, but I think this underestimates that amount of work already being done. In my assessment, it was a 1 in 2003 when researchers were discretely looking for aging correlated markers in the genome project as the data was pouring in.

Let's imagine a linear to power scale of financial scale (R&D investment+ sales), where a 1 is $1B (constant current dollars), 2 is $2B, 3 is $5B, 4 is $10B, 5 is $20B, 6 is $50B, 7 is $100B, 8 is $200B, 9 is $500B, and 10 = $1T. I don't know what scale Tristan Edwards was thinking when he said "...go from a two to an eight in the next four to five years", but I think we may be between a 4 and 5 in 2020, and an 8 in 4 or 5 years, as he said.

Posted by: Tom Schaefer at September 25th, 2019 9:08 AM

It all hinges on senolytics, as they are the only class of substances (per Unity) that have any hope of clinical translation by 2020 that can make things pop a bit

If they do well in the clinic, things will most likely explode as a real investment class

If they fail, longevity biotech funding will get very dry and quiet for many years

Posted by: BioInvestor99 at September 25th, 2019 11:15 AM

Correct me if I am wrong but Unity is hardly working in the longevity field. Their product is developed for local administration only and not for a systemic clearance of SC. A longevity effect though comes from a systemic clearance. And as far as I know you cannot use it off-label for this either.
It sure is a confirmation or prove of concept but I don't think it will break the funding when first data from Oisin, Foxbio etc. is not that far away either..

Posted by: Chris at September 25th, 2019 11:58 AM

A safe stock bet right now might be Alphabet. Goog might be trading at 1200 per share but you're betting on Artificial Intelligence as well as Calico... Thoughts?

Posted by: August at September 25th, 2019 12:44 PM

If they are trying senolitics they should be exposed to the concept of longevity, if not openly subscribing to it.

Seems that arthritis has multiple causes and SC are only one of them.

Posted by: Cuberat at September 25th, 2019 12:48 PM

Life Bio is one of the results from the work of David Sinclair.
As he continuously demonstrated for past years, he is one of the best out there. Sens and deGrey can take lots of notes from Sinclair, especially with cellular reprogramming, as sens had/have hard time understanding the potential of this approach.

Posted by: m&m at September 27th, 2019 11:06 AM
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