Too Much of a Focus on What is Easy, Too Little on What Could Greatly Increase Lifespan

It is comparatively easy to build companies that sell customized mixes of various supplements shown to modestly slow aging in mice, and the same goes for companies that offer personalized advice on health matters relating to aging. Neither of these options are going to do much to meaningfully extend the healthy human life span. As participation in the longevity industry grows, it will inevitably be the case that a great many participants will gravitate towards safer businesses and returns on investment, while doing very little to change the healthy human life span. I feel that we shouldn't encourage this sort of behavior. We all have only so much time left, and we have been given the opportunity to produce actual, working rejuvenation therapies by implementing the SENS programs to repair the cell and tissue damage that causes aging. We can collectively reach for that goal, or we can collectively waste our time working on yet another round of overhyped supplements that cannot move the needle on human life span. It is a very real choice, with very real consequences.

Switzerland is now home to what claims to be the country's first longevity company builder. Maximon will start several companies each year, providing what it calls "a comprehensive set of resources that empowers founders to focus on and create superior services and products and execute at speed on a global scale." Maximon says it plans to allocate more than $50 million over the next four years and to raise a larger longevity focused fund thereafter. The company is already in the process of building its first two companies, one focused on the development of precision longevity supplements and the other on the development of a digital platform for the provision of personalised longevity advice.

"The real difference is that we really build the companies from scratch, not just incubation or early seed money. We start with ideas, form the teams, bring the people together, give them money, and everything. Founders don't have to think about fundraising, we do that here, they don't have think about finding offices, we provide workspace and equipment, the HR is done, the insurance is done, and so on. I think that we're the first ones to do this in longevity." The Maximon principals believe that this approach will benefit the start-ups to emerge from Maximon, both in terms of speed of execution, but also in terms of equity.

While the idea for getting into the longevity area had been in their minds for several years, the Maximon principals say that the coronavirus pandemic provided the time needed for the co-founders to start making things happen - starting with last October's Longevity Investors Conference. "After the success of the conference, we thought about what else we could do. We knew that we were good at building companies and identifying what you can do with certain technologies in the market, and so out of this conference, the idea was born to start a company builder." Things have moved quickly since then, and the founders have assembled an initial $6 million to get things started with the first two companies in the Maximon family. After raising the rest of the $50 million or more, Maximon will be in a position to support the creation of eight to 10 new companies over the next few years.



Laura Deming, aside from saying "like" a million times, basically says the Hallmarks Of Aging are crap at 21:00

Posted by: gary dimatos at March 9th, 2021 8:21 AM

Often the key to success in business where goals are vague 'increase life span', resources are available but less than ideal, and the eventual 'first demand' seems obvious but not the exact demographic (rich, poor, reduced regulation, private...) is to have a well-defined, dominant, and singular leader/ facilitator. One who realizes that not every 'enthusiast' is useful; not all age-related researchers are beneficial; not all promised funding is aligned with a focussed purpose. Paring the inessential is key in an environment of scarcity. The 'throw everything SENS' at the wall and see what sticks may create the most likely 'victory against ageing' over the long term, but is it the approach that will bring about the 20-year increase, the ride on the improved-research life span trajectory (to enable one to keep living as improvements roll out), and first widespread adoption of clinical therapies within the next half of this century? Doubtful. If ever a burgeoning industry of high-promise, near-term technology availability, and chaotic research/ standards/ funding was heroically 'reined in' and placed on a path of maximizing early success: it was the EV industry under E.Musk. I very much doubt that widespread EV development programs at nearly all car manufacturers, countries proclaiming no new ICE vehicles after 2030, and the spawning of entire segments of the vertical EV system (from mining to battery factories to charging stations) would have seen such success for another 20 years under an otherwise 'thoughtful incremental approach by regulation and government research programs, tentatively implemented by a nervous group of car investors cowered by dealers and ICE producers'. Nonsense. If you want SENS to succeed: pick 3, focus 75% of funding on those, go forth to create the first 120-year-old based on a program of those therapies under a single roof in a sympathetic regulatory environment by 2050. Better to spend $500M focused this way over 8 - 10 years than $50B on whoever is willing to do a SENS-related project, harvest the data and re-assess, over likely 50 years.

Posted by: Jer at March 9th, 2021 9:30 AM

Depressing... I wonder how much money is invested in SENS research (basic and applied) nowadays.

Posted by: Antonio at March 9th, 2021 12:17 PM

Unfortunately, the lack of a breakthrough in the past 5 years has caused investors to lower their expectations and risk appetite. We understand the complexity and inter-connectedness of the aging problem much better than we did, and that is part of why people are throwing in the towel on the potential big advancements.

I remember when the Methuselah foundation was taking about bridges to the next generation of breakthroughs. Investors are just building smaller bridges, as the ones talked about by Aubrey appear a bridge too far.

Posted by: Thomas Mark Schaefer at March 9th, 2021 12:28 PM

This is happening like in the cosmetic world. Tons of companies selling products for decades, claiming miracles, but we still can't get a solid treatment/cure for basic skin problems like acne, rosacea, dilated pores, etc....

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at March 9th, 2021 1:16 PM

@Thomas: You are putting the cart before the horse. It's not the lack of breakthrougs what's generated a lack of investing, it's lack of investing what's generated a lack of breakthrougs.

And concerning complexity, it's just the opposite of what you said. SENS simplifies antiaging complexity by breaking the problem up into pieces that can be addressed separately. The other approaches (rapamycin, epigenetic editing, ...) try to treat aging as a whole with a single treatment.

Posted by: Antonio at March 9th, 2021 1:20 PM

"SENS simplifies antiaging complexity"
More like, SENS over-simplifies antiaging complexity.
Which is exactly the reason we still are where we are.

Posted by: Barbara T. at March 9th, 2021 1:36 PM

Statements with no justification can be dismissed without justification.

Posted by: Antonio at March 9th, 2021 1:44 PM

The justification is built-in. It is reality. Which is the point of this article. Which is the sentence I wrote. So a tautology. And the opposite of what you said.
Unless you were talking about your own comment i.e. your lack of a justification for why we are where we are (not lack of funding but pointless amyloid clearing, discarded WILT etc.) in light of the perfectly working and super-simple solution to aging that is SENS.
But never mind.

Posted by: Barbara T. at March 9th, 2021 3:06 PM

I knew you would not add any justification. OK, bye.

Posted by: Antonio at March 9th, 2021 4:14 PM

"I knew you would not add any justification. OK, bye."
Difficult to understand if you are trolling.
Just in case you are not: as I have already said above twice, the justification for the statement "SENS oversimplifies aging complexity" is that a few of its components have already been dropped due to being useless or too difficult to achieve. On the other hand, non-SENS strategies like epigenetic reprogramming have made good progress. Ergo, part of SENS is good and part isn't due to its oversimplifying (= being unable to solve) problems that other approaches are faring better at.
But I know that:
1) Your MO is saying over and over and over that the person you disagree with didn't "give an answer", even though they did many times and keep doing so (because they bait) in increasingly detailed - and frustrated - ways.
2) You are one of the staunchest members of The Church.
So my explanation is not really for you but for someone who hasn't signed away his life to The Cult.

Posted by: Barbara T. at March 9th, 2021 4:49 PM

Barbara T., can you point out any instance where SENS claims that the removal of amyloid plaques should provide a significant improvement in cognitive function?

Posted by: Florin at March 10th, 2021 2:01 AM

@Florin: Chapter 8 of Ending Aging, 1st Edition, page 134:
"Our cells - and thus our bodies - are progressively damaged by protein-derived junk that gathers over the years in the space between cells. Alzheimer's disease is perhaps the best known condition associated with this, but there are others that are equally fatal. However, there is a way forward for medical science and our health: recent and very promising research demonstrates that science can turn our own immune system against this dangerous material."

Posted by: Barbara T. at March 10th, 2021 6:15 AM

@Florin - the amyloid hypothesis was the accepted majority view of the pathogenesis of Alzheimer's back when Ending Aging was written and published in 2008.

The people behind SENS are scientists, not zealots, and so can change their hypothesis in the light of new evidence. The continued failure of IgG antibodies to amyloid in clinical trials is evidence that either removing amyloid has no effect on symptomatic Alzheimers, or that the treatment has side effects that worsen the condition (increased inflamation), or that Alzheimer's is caused by more than one type of damage, which are now the positions that SENS principals take.

SENS (and everyone else) was wrong in predicting that removing amyloid clumps alone might stop Alzheimers. SENS was correct in predicting that removing senescent cells might extend lifespan (as it is done repeatedly in mice).

Posted by: jimofoz at March 10th, 2021 6:29 AM

AFAIK, AdG never said that amyloid was the only cause of AD or that clearing amyloid would cure AD. Ditto for senolytics and life extension. Indeed, the standard statement in every interview was that probably almost all of the 7 damages would need to be addressed to make a meaningful life extension. Only recently he started to say that senolytics alone could make a meaningful contribution to LE, due to the better than expected results in mice.

Posted by: Antonio at March 10th, 2021 11:30 AM

Did Nir Barzilai's mysterious "billion $$ a year" foundation ever show it's face? (at 38:13)

Or was that more longevity vapor too?

Posted by: glenn greenwold at March 10th, 2021 4:23 PM

The Methuselah Mouse prize remains unclaimed. REAL life extension in mice has still not been demonstrated. Instead, we have life expectancy extension, but the maximum mus musculus lifespan has not yet been broken through, as have those for fruit flies and yeast.

Posted by: Robert at March 21st, 2021 9:57 PM
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