Michael Greve Announces a New €300 Million Fund for Investment in Rejuvenation Biotechnology Startups

Michael Greve, you might recall, is a strong supporter of the Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence (SENS) rejuvenation biotechnology approach to aging, first put forward twenty years ago by Aubrey de Grey and collaborators. Five years ago Michael Greve pledged $10 million to be split between SENS-focused research and investment in startup companies arising from that research. His venture firm, Kizoo Technology Ventures, has invested in companies that are developing potential rejuvenation therapies, such as the cross-link breaking enzymes of Revel Pharmaceuticals, and the senolytic suicide gene therapy of Oisin Biotechnologies. He founded a non-profit, Forever Healthy Foundation, that, among other things, runs the Undoing Aging conference series and publishes serious, sober, detailed technical reviews of approaches to treating aging. Now Michael Greve is greatly expanding his efforts to support the new and growing longevity industry.

In the SENS viewpoint, which is itself a synthesis of evidence gathered over past decades of scientific research, aging is caused by the accumulation of fundamental forms of well-known cell and tissue damage that arise as a side-effect of the normal operation of metabolism. The best approach to intervention is to periodically repair that damage. Repair is explicitly rejuvenation.

Scientists and supporters of SENS advocated for removal of the senescent cells that accumulate in old tissues a decade before the rest of the scientific community came around to supporting that idea. The animal data produced since then shows that clearance of senescent cells produces profound reversals of aging and age-related disease in old mice. It is even capable of reversing the detrimental restructuring of the heart in old individuals that leads to heart failure. Now, a good fraction of the growing longevity industry is pursuing the development of senolytic therapies capable of selective destruction of senescent cells. Thus to my eyes, the more support there is for the SENS approach to the challenge of aging the better. It is clearly the right way forward towards meaningful control over aging within our lifetimes.

Kizoo commits €300 million to advance rejuvenation startups

Michael Greve, founder of the Forever Healthy Foundation and owner of Kizoo Technology Ventures, announced today that he will make available an additional €300 million to be invested in rejuvenation biotech. The funds, to be deployed via Kizoo, will be used to create and support more startups in the rejuvenation space. They will also allow Kizoo to maintain a strong commitment to its key startups during follow-up rounds and to advance the therapies from clinical development to public availability.

With this €300 million commitment, Greve and Kizoo double down on their mission to accelerate the advent of rejuvenation biotechnology by doing lighthouse investments in entirely new, repair-based approaches that treat the root causes of aging and thus overcome age-related diseases. Through the creation of successful companies, they seek to inspire scientists, investors, and the general public by demonstrating that human rejuvenation is not science fiction anymore and that the resulting therapies are affordable and uncomplicated.

Technologies pioneered by Kizoo's startups include removal of arterial plaque, decalcification of aged tissue, breaking of protein-glucose cross-links, and delivery of new mitochondria to aged cells - all aiming to prevent and repair common age-related conditions such as myocardial infarction, stroke, high blood pressure, tissue stiffening, skin aging, and loss of muscle function.

"I am really grateful that we can use the funds we have created with our highly successful technology ventures to contribute to the quest to get aging under full medical control and to make age-related diseases a thing of the past. For me, it is a worthy cause that is exciting in a technological, commercial, and above all, a humanitarian way." Greve expects that the new funds, in combination with the strong, multi-round commitment of Kizoo to its key startups, should trigger co-investments of up to 3-4 times the initial amount, resulting in a significant acceleration of the development and public availability of the therapies.

Comments

For a second I thought it was $300 million to SENS... It would do much more in the long run than $300 million for start-up.

Posted by: Jonathan Weaver at May 6th, 2021 9:20 AM

I was unaware he even had this type of wealth to deploy and there is no mention of the source of capital

I'd like to see more details as if he is really doing this on his own, with an investor syndicate, or whether he is "raising funds" to do so...

Posted by: Roger Shermer at May 6th, 2021 9:21 AM

This is about as good as news as I can possibly imagine! (ok .... maybe 300mil to SENS.org would have been slightly better).

Maybe it's the recent rise in crypto?
Remember, Vitalik Buterin is a huge sens fan as well... (knock knock, I don't want to jinx it)

Whatever the cause for the recent funds, this is great news, and hopefully this will beget more funding for sens related things!!

Posted by: greg schulte at May 6th, 2021 10:38 AM

Wow! Just wow! Very encouraging news!

Posted by: Antonio at May 6th, 2021 10:54 AM

The reason behind this is probably to give chance to other child prodigies to flap their wings. If I would have that kind of money, I would find it logical to give chance to other research groups also. Maybe others just can't get enough funds for a very good idea. It's not wise to bet everything on one or two research associations like SENS, because they are also only human beings with a relatively rigid mindset. I really respect them though and follow the research progress as much as I can. Also rooting for them.

But for example. Suppose you do research, and you are looking up the available literature. You have a mindset, you think you searched every possible thing about a topic and you don't have blind spots. Then comes along someone with another kind of mindset, and tells you that you should have gone for the XY thing instead in the search.

This happened to me. I do image analysis, I thought it's OK to do the way I did. Then came along a bunch of IT guys, told me that I should have used deep learning from the get go. Wasted 1 year. It's a small loss for the research community.

Bigger loss if SENS and other large associations don't have competition and collaboration. They don't know where to go if they have a problem, the can't have meaningful conversations and can't have guidance and inspiration from their colleagues.

I like the idea. Well done in my opinion.

Posted by: laguy at May 6th, 2021 1:05 PM

This is basically SENS investment

Kizoo's whole portfolio is basically SENS spin-offs - or has some Aubrey de Grey connection

Good luck - they can burn through $300 million very quickly

Posted by: quan li at May 6th, 2021 1:54 PM

@laguy: SENS has been out in the woods for a couple of decades now and nobody found a loophole or a mistake. Also, it has had a lot of competition, since it's still not mainstream. For example, the Buck Institute has a budget 7-10 times bigger than SRF and most of its research is not SENS-related. Ditto for the NIA, the Ellison Foundation, etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: Antonio at May 6th, 2021 4:19 PM

@laguy
Nobody thinks SENS are infallible . This is just giving them more chance and attracting attention to the whole sector. Attention == investment & grant money
If even one of the prospective treatments works well enough in humans we will be at a lift-off stage of the whole anti-aging research. For now we are like commercial nuclear fusion . Always some decades in the future...

Posted by: Cuberat at May 6th, 2021 4:42 PM

@laguy

A mechanic could make my car run forever. An IT guy might update the car's software to make it run a little better, but no amount of fancy machine learning or AI-whatever will be able to fix any problem caused by the physical aging of the car. Without the mechanic, the car will die of aging.

Posted by: Florin at May 6th, 2021 11:07 PM

To all: I am glad you all care so much about aging related research. I did not expect so many answers. More or less we have an agreement. There is a good point made by @Cuberat. "Attention == investment & grant money". And yes, there is a need for a relatively reliable treatment for aging to gain attention. That would drive the whole sector. That is also why I wrote my previous opinion. You just don't bet always on the same horse. And you don't bet always on horse racing for that matter. You diversify your resources on promising projects if you want results on the long run.

Posted by: laguy at May 7th, 2021 2:44 AM

Hello everybody. It's a very good news. However, can we estimate how much money is already invested in the longevity industry? It's difficult to define what the longevity industry is.
But if I say that $2B is already there.

Posted by: Alek Ales at May 7th, 2021 5:30 AM

@Alek Ales

It's extremely little - I don't think the total (if you filter out Calico's billion) is cumulatively enough to support one program into late stage clinical trials, let alone regulatory approval, scale-up and marketing

It is concerning to me that it is the same investors, over and over again, cross-investing with one another in deals, and very little new money flowing into the space

And no one from big pharma is committed yet

It is still very early days and the whole space needs still to prove itself and have some clinical success

Posted by: Drew O'Leary at May 7th, 2021 7:29 AM

$300mio sounds huge. How much money does a startup need? Say 20mio (probably less), that's theoretically 15+ new startups all working on damage repair approaches. Would be great if someone with more insight could put these numbers into perspective. Thanks.

Posted by: Mark at May 7th, 2021 9:02 AM

@Mark

The only resource you really need to study this is the gold standard work from the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development

https://csdd.tufts.edu/

From there you can things dial up or down

The bigger issue is whether you seed 150 companies with a couple million $$, or only fund a handful with $15 -30 million for early clinical success, is there a next step yet? that is where big pharma comes in to take things across the finish line?

A few have gotten close (Unity, ResTORbio, etc.) but gotten smacked down

Also, like Roger Shermer asks above, I'm very curious whether this man of "7-8 figure" wealth, truly has "9 figures" to invest "all in"....or is this based on a future raise??

Posted by: Drew O'Leary at May 7th, 2021 1:22 PM

@Alex

If you look at the (now at least a year out of date) counts sub-sheet at AgingBiotech.info/companies, you can quickly see that the total raised by all the aging/longevity companies there was already over $4B. This is the most comprehensive list of companies in the space that I know of but still missing many, some of which are not yet added but listed on the "companies to consider" subsheet, and many of the companies listed have raised more in the past year that I just haven't updated yet. But more importantly, this is a clear underestimate because many of the companies that have raised have not made the info public in a way that I could easily find it and add it to the table.

New money is definitely coming into the space though. I've learned of at least a handful of new venture funds that are going to be at least partially focused on the space in just the past 2 months.

Posted by: Karl Pfleger at May 9th, 2021 10:47 PM

@ Karl. Thank you for showing this table of aging/longevity companies. It looks very useful and informative. However, I'm struggling to find amounts of money raised by the companies to calculate that $4B. Where can I find that $4B in this table?
I would suggest to use this table to measure the aging/longevity progress in the future.

Posted by: Alek Ales at May 10th, 2021 5:37 AM

What matters is it appears this money is to be spent on repair/rejuvenation and not metabolic tweaking. I never expected all (or most) of de Grey's specific proposed SENS interventions to end up working, just his overall strategy.

For example, with mitoSENS de Grey proposes moving copies of mtDNA into the nucleus to improve mitochondrial function, but who knows, it might be that replacing old mitochondria in cells with whole new fresh mitochondria ends up improving mitochondrial function just as much or more.

Posted by: Kel at May 11th, 2021 3:26 PM

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