At first glance, with only a few exceptions in the initial membership, the newly launched Longevity Biotech Association is an advocacy group for the small molecule, stress response upregulation faction within the development community focused on the treatment of aging as a medical condition. More advocacy for the concept and feasibility of treating aging is certainly a good thing, and it is welcome to see the arrival of new high-profile initiatives. A cautionary thought is that the only real merit of the small molecule stress response upregulation approach, mimicking thin slices of the beneficial metabolic response to exercise, calorie restriction, heat, cold, or hypoxia, is that it will be easier to achieve regulatory approval. The outcomes are unlikely to prove better for long-term health than actually undertaking more exercise or adopting some form of restricted calorie intake. If spending decades and billions on medical development, shouldn't be we be aiming higher? Implementing other approaches that are capable in principle of rejuvenation and sizable extension of life span, such as those laid out in the SENS research programs?
Leaders from across the longevity sector came together in London today to announce the formation of the Longevity Biotechnology Association (LBA). The non-profit organisation says it aims to represent those behind the development of "new medicines and therapies to prevent and cure, rather than merely manage, the health conditions of late life." Three of the LBA's founding members announced the launch at today's Investing in the Age of Longevity event at Longevity Week, including Juvenescence co-founder and chairman Jim Mellon, Cambrian Biopharma founder James Peyer, and Mehmood Khan, CEO of Hevolution Foundation.
On the academic side, LBA founding members include Harvard's David Sinclair, Nir Barzilai from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Brian Kennedy from the National University of Singapore. In addition to Peyer, biotech company CEOs include BioAge's Kristen Fortney, Joe Betts-Lacroix of Retro Biosciences, and Matthias Steger of Rejuveron Life Sciences. Beyond Mellon and Kahn, investors are also represented by The Longevity Fund's Laura Deming, Nils Regge of Apollo Health Ventures, Michael Greve of the Forever Healthy Foundation, and Longevity Vision Fund's Sergey Young.
"I think the LBA will be a powerful and necessary force for the coming years… The ambition of the industry over the next 10 years is to completely upend the conception of aging that most people have… and the bottom line is, the industry has come of age." The LBA has several main objectives, the first of which is to "educate governments, the media, the public and the medical field about the promise of emerging therapies with the potential to treat or prevent multiple age-related conditions at once." Other goals include supporting newcomers to the industry and to help foster the creation of industrywide best practices.