Noting the Work of Jim Mellon to Advance the Longevity Industry and Related Research

In the past few years Jim Mellon, high net worth investor and philanthropist, has put in a great deal of time and effort to help push forward the development of a biotech industry focused on intervention in human aging. He has donated to non-profits in the aging research space, set up aging-focused conference series, founded and raised funding for a sizable biotech company in the space, invested in other biotech startups personally, and in general has been very personable and helpful to his fellow travelers and advocates. Would that there were more people with the resources and will to dive into advancing the state of the field in this way.

How does an idea that is too unconventional for mainstream channels get funded? Today, the concept of longevity research is rapidly gaining adoption, but it wasn't long ago that angel investors and the rare NIH grant were the only options for people fighting for increased longevity. Longevity enthusiasts are likely to know names like Peter Thiel, Dmitry Itskov, J. Craig Venter, Sergey Brin, Larry Ellison, and Jeff Bezos for their personal contributions, both as philanthropists and investors. Among angel investors, Jim Mellon was one of the earliest adopters of longevity research. While his fortune has come from various other sectors, he founded Mann Bioinvest, published Cracking the Code, and started praising the healthy longevity strategy back in 2012. With all the progress and setbacks of the last decade, Jim remains optimistic about the field, recently claiming that the world is on the brink of three major revolutions, with increased longevity being one of them.

In biotech, Jim Mellon is most well-known for his role in Juvenescence, which is both a book he authored on biotech investment and a longevity company he co-founded. Juvenescence has its hand in tissue regeneration and cell therapy approaches to healthy longevity via AgeX Therapeutics and LyGenesis. While still at the preclinical stage, LyGenesis has been perhaps the most successful tissue engineering and regenerative medicine company thus far. Separately from Juvenescence, Jim Mellon also played a role as chairman of Regent Pacific during its acquisition of AI firm Deep Longevity last year. He's also invested in Repair Biotechnologies and various other companies outside the scope of Juvenescence.

Beyond his investments, Jim Mellon has also made various donations to longevity nonprofits in recent years, including the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, Methuselah Foundation, and SENS Research Foundation, among others. In 2020, he donated £1 million to Oriel College in order to support and advance the study of Longevity Science at Oxford University, the largest donation of its kind.

For better or worse, high-net-worth individuals are imperative to the translation of treatments from the bench to bedside. While some media organizations make negative comments that billionaires are simply attempting to buy their own immortality without regard for anyone else's health, these concerns are largely overblown. Overall, few people have done as much to increase human longevity as Jim Mellon. Beyond putting up his own capital, he's also played a major role in convincing others to do the same, thereby accelerating longevity research and moving us towards a healthier future.

Link: https://www.lifespan.io/news/jim-mellons-funding-of-longevity-projects/

Comments

Jim Mellon is worth £1.1 billion

He has put in relatively small amounts of capital to these initiatives compared to his total net worth, relying on "other people's money" while promoting these risky, earlier stage longevity investments for the small retail investors.

He does not deserve accolades until he himself fully commits his wealth

Aubrey dG has given most of his to the cause

When Mellon gives away proportions of his wealth to longevity, similar to say someone like Chuck Feeney, then he should be revered

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chuck_Feeney

Posted by: barry demarco at April 14th, 2021 4:14 PM

@barry demarco, He has put a sizeable amount into Juvenescence, and they've raised over 200 million USD, from big investors, some of whom are far wealthier than Mellon is. The philanthropic stuff is sizeable too. This is a marathon not a sprint, and a group effort. How about focussing on the importance of convincing other billionaires of just how important Longevity is, so they can put their money in to advance the cause, whether thats through investments in Longevity related companies, philanthropy or a combination of both? Combined they're going to bring in much more as far as capital goes than Mellon alone can. Again, Mellon has actually gone and done that (brought in billionaires and their capital) via Juvenescence.

Feeney has a completely different mandate altogether. Give away (not invest) most of your money, to various philanthropic causes before you die. People invested (in whatever capacity) in the longevity field are looking to improve life for human's in general, and some also happen to think the Longevity space will be a great investment over many decades from a financial perspective.

Posted by: Tolkien at April 15th, 2021 2:05 AM

I agree with barry demarco. Mellon has invested mostly other people's money. His wealth's contribution is small. And the other people praised in the article have either contributed small amounts (like Thiel) or focused on fields that will not advance life extension meaningfully in our lifetimes (like Ellison). People like Michael Greve are much more invested in life extension.

Posted by: Antonio at April 15th, 2021 4:59 AM

Greve should also invest in LPP Fusion. Only some hundred thousands $ and 12 months before net energy. Its estimated price will increase 8000% from now to 2030 if they reach net energy.

Posted by: Norse at April 15th, 2021 6:23 AM

@Tolkien

What he has "raised" is Other Peoples Money - OPM!

Go into the quarterly reports of the companies he is involved in and see how many he is a significant shareholder HIMSELF in - not OPM

This same BS can be said about Jeff Bezos - he, nor his investment funds, can be found anywhere in the Unity public materials because he is not a significant shareholder

Stop putting these people on a pedestal until they THEMSELVES commit to longevity in a real way - not just by spending OPM...

Posted by: barry demarco at April 15th, 2021 9:21 AM

@Barry demarco, That statement is simply incorrect. He's personally put in an 8 figure sum into Juvenescence. That is his money. Using OPM is how companies raise funds on the stock market, people invest because they want exposure to a long term growth story, and OPM is whats going to advance the cause further. Getting many billionaires invested in the field is what advances the cause. Someone like Mellon doesn't have the sort of capital required to move the dial in a significant way in this field. If Juvenescence was last valued in the region of half a billion $, that is a job well done. Regardless of whether or not one person is the largest shareholder or not. I have taken a look at some of Mellon's other companies, he's the biggest investor in agronomics, owns about 1/5th of that company. So insinuating that Mellon is a small passive investor banking on small time investors is unfair, and doesn't reflect reality. Additionally, the team behind Juvenescence (which includes Mellon) took Biohaven from a very small operation (few million) to a multi-billion $ listed entity. Those are the sort of results the Longevity field needs and wants. If Mellon assembling a team and building a listed entity that post IPO will be one of the few, well funded pureplays on Longevity (with an element of diversification) out there, isn't a commitment to longevity, then i really don't know what is.

Posted by: Tolkien at April 15th, 2021 2:47 PM

@Tolkien: Agronomics has nothing to do with longevity. It develops synthetic meat and the like. Ditto for Biohaven, it's a mainstream pharmaceutical company. Its pipeline has nothing to do with gerontology, apart from the repurposing of an ALS drug as an AD drug (and anyway it doesn't seem to address any of its causes but simply help neurons support a little more damage before dying).

Posted by: Antonio at April 15th, 2021 6:55 PM

@Antonio, I didn't say it was. My comment was in response to Barrys, and it was in relation to his comment about companies Mellon was involved in, and whether or not he was a significant shareholder in them or not, and how that related to "other peoples money". I cited Agronomics as an example, it's a company founded in part by Mellon, and he's the largest shareholder of that company. That was my point. I was not linking what agronomics does with longevity at all.

I wasn't claiming Biohaven was a longevity company either. The only reason it is relevant to the conversation, is because the core team that founded Juvenescence had a role to play in the development of Biohaven, and the point i was making there was Biohaven has been a massive success. We need those sort of successes in the longevity space to drive inward investment into the area. It is that investment which is going to move the needle with regards to longevity.

Posted by: Tolkien at April 15th, 2021 10:06 PM

@Tolkien:

Barry said:

"He has put in relatively small amounts of capital to these initiatives compared to his total net worth, relying on "other people's money" while promoting these risky, earlier stage longevity investments for the small retail investors."

Clearly, he was not talking about general companies but longevity companies. Same for my comments. Mellon has invested very little from his money in longevity.

Posted by: Antonio at April 16th, 2021 1:41 AM

@Antonio,

re-read the comment mate, "Go into the quarterly reports of the companies he is involved in"....

Doesn't sound like only longevity only companies to me. There's one large longevity company he is listed as a founder of, and thats called Juvenescence, the man has put in an 8 figure sum into that company. That is not a small amount, especially considering most billionaires don't have that sort of money in liquid assets. Juvenescence has also brought in substantial investment from other billionaires, this field needs far more capital than Mellon alone has to move the needle.

Posted by: Tolkien at April 16th, 2021 8:15 PM

Typo: ~0.1%.

Posted by: Antonio at April 17th, 2021 12:53 PM

@Tolkien:
Nope, it's your figures which are completely wrong.
"$7.5 million investment from Mellon in the Series A round."
False. From your link:
"As part of the Juvenescence Series A Funding Mr Mellon is directly and INDIRECTLY subscribing for US$7,500,000 of Series A shares in Juvenescence on the same terms as the Company."
(Caps are mine.)
"$10 million was put in by the founders during the Series B (which includes Mellon)."
'Which includes Mellon' is not the same as 'which is Mellon'.

Posted by: Antonio at April 20th, 2021 6:26 AM

@Antonio, just looked to see if you'd responded, and you haven't refuted my point, just argued for the sake of arguing. Mellon invested 7.5 million in a personal capacity AND via an investment vehicle under his control, thats what DIRECTLY and INDIRECTLY refers to. Also, the figures cited are not 0.1% of his wealth, they're substantially more than that. You've proven yourself not only to be wrong, but very, very wrong. Please do some proper research and cite some proper evidence next time you get involved in a back and forth. As for the series B, even in the absence of any other evidence regarding terms, split 10 million 5 ways (5 founders), even on an equal basis (which it wasn't) equates to 2 million per person. That is substantially more than your 0.1% of wealth figure. Again, you're not only wrong, but very wrong. Mellons been on the record to say his investment in Juvenescence is in the 8 figure region, the evidence i cited proves that.

Posted by: Tolkien at May 4th, 2021 2:18 PM

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