Welcome back to the latest edition of the Longevity and DeSci Recap. Here, you’ll discover the latest interviews, insights, and research in the longevity tech sphere over the past month and learn more about topics including blockchain, DAOs, cryptocurrency, DeSci, and related events.
This September marked a lucrative month for biotech and decentralized science companies in the longevity arena, with multiple sizable investments spanning a variety of interest areas, such as neurodegenerative disease, immune system function, and digestive health. The summer conference season has wrapped up: the ARDD2023 conference, dubbed the ‘mother of all longevity conferences’, was held in Copenhagen at the end of August.
Longevity & Crypto Day Abu Dhabi October 12, 2023: Abu Dhabi is set to host an exclusive Longevity and decentralized science (DeSci) event this month. Located in the city’s center, the Longevity and Crypto Day will gather together experts, scientists, enthusiasts, and investors from around the globe to explore the advancements in human longevity and the role of decentralized technologies. This one-day-only event will cover longevity medicine, longevity biotech, the landscape of longevity investment, and the pivotal roles that AI and blockchain technologies are playing in accelerating longevity research. Speakers will include Abdishakur Abdulle, PhD of the UAE Healthy Future Study, Sergey Young of the Longevity Vision Fund, Peter Fedichev of Gero.AI, Nikolina Lauc of GlycanAge, Prof. Even Bischof or the Sheba Longevity Center, andmany other notable names. Find out more about attending the event here.
Longevity investment and development news
“Mother of All Longevity Conferences” ARDD2023 held in Copenhagen: From August 26-30, the University of Copenhagen in Denmark played host to one of the world’s largest longevity conferences, Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD). This year’s sold-out event marked the 10th time that this conference has been held and featured 5,000+ online attendees and 120+ speakers from across the globe, including top scientists, biotechs, academics, and investors.
This year featured presentations and discussions from scientists, academics, investors, and longevity enthusiasts covering longevity medicine, geroscience, gerotherapeutics, digital biomarkers, stem cell aging, and financial models for longevity research. The organizers announced that the conference’s next session is scheduled for August 26-30, 2024.
Rejuveron Life Sciences secures $75 million in Series B round funding: This longevity biotech firm has just secured $75 million in a Series B funding round to bolster its innovative research to develop therapies promoting healthy aging and targeting age-related diseases. Co-led by Capital Management and Apeiron Investment Group, with participation from Mubadala Capital, Rejuveron Life Sciences plans to use a portion of the funding as part of its strategic move to open an Abu Dhabi office, integrating the company into the evolving longevity research hub movement in the UAE.
In addition, a recent acquisition of a stake in Boost Neuroscience aligns with the company’s mission to support transformative advancements in aging. This supports the company’s multi-pronged approach that aims to tackle various aspects of aging through different clinical trials into several therapeutic approaches.
San Francisco-based venture capital firm age1 launches with $35 million: A dedicated venture capital firm specializing in longevity biotech has launched in San Francisco. age1 launched with an initial closing of $35 million, which it plans to invest in innovative entrepreneurs developing therapeutics, tools, and technologies aimed at aging and age-related diseases. Supporting companies from the earliest stages by providing funding as well as strategic and regulatory guidance along with networking opportunities with longevity experts, age1 plans to accelerate longevity advancements. The team behind the firm have long-reaching experience in the sector and include Laura Deming, founder of The Longevity Fund, and Alex Colville, Ph.D, who previously established the investment pathway of Starbloom Capital among many other endeavors.
$700,000 research grant awarded to Vincere Biosciences for neurodegenerative disease therapies: Vincere Biosciences, a company focused on developing therapies for neurodegenerative disease, has received $700,000 in funding for research from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This sizable grant aims to advance the company’s research into its USP30 inhibitor molecule and its efficacy and pharmacokinetics in treating Parkinson’s disease. Early research shows that Vincere’s molecule enhances mitophagy, the removal of damaged mitochondria, and offers a potentially novel approach to slowing or stopping the progression of Parkinson’s disease. The received funding will cover the two-year project and seeks to be a step forward in both therapeutic solutions and slowing the progression of neurodegenerative disorders.
US government body invests $37 million into longevity project: Thymmune Therapeutics received a $37 million grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services in ARPA-H funding for a project designed to rejuvenate the thymus, an organ that is critical in immune system function. Known as the Thymus Rejuvenation project, the research seeks to restore damaged or non-functional thymus tissue, which, in turn, could potentially enhance the function of the immune system. Currently in its initial phase, the project is developing protocols for creating functional thymus tissue from induced pluripotent stem cells, which have the potential to “reboot” the immune system. This latest investment follows the company’s track record of securing funding, having been backed by industry experts and secured significant seed financing in the past.
$31 million secured for AI-driven digestive health project: Vivante Health, a digestive health biotech company, has received $31 million in Series B funding. The proceeds are planned to go toward advancing its GIThrive platform, which is a comprehensive solution providing virtual gastrointestinal care and support for the 70+ million Americans affected by chronic digestive conditions.
GIThrive offers AI-driven personalized care plans, connects users to healthcare professionals, and provides features like food and symptom tracking and educational resources. The newly acquired funds will be invested in refining the platform’s predictive capabilities and expanding support teams to assist new employers, health plans, and channel partners. The investment, led by Mercato Partners, elevates the total capital amassed by Vivante to $47 million, aiming to bridge existing gaps in digestive health management and deliver valuable returns to employers by minimizing digestive-related healthcare costs.
Tech breakthroughs & new research
Exo launches Iris, an AI-backed handheld ultrasound device: With huge investment in the longevity sector, we often may be led to believe that progress should be at lightning speed. However, often it takes time to move from gaining investment to product or service realization, but progress is worth it.
Exo, a biotech company, has recently launched its handheld AI-based ultrasound device. This launch comes almost ten years after the company’s launch, $300 million in total, and a development sprint lasting 18 months. The company’s mission in creating this device was to make ultrasounds more flexible or as simple as using a smartphone camera. It is embedded with SweepAI technology, which captures scans as the clinician uses the device.
DAOs and communities
Longevity Fellowship applications are open: VitaDAO’s Longevity Fellowship, which offers a $2,000 grant to scientists, students, and longevity enthusiasts, is open for applications. The fund covers applications for interested parties to attend conferences, follow up on research objectives, and dive deeper into the longevity sphere. Anyone interested in finding out more about the grant or making an application can do so here.
Eyes and aging – a discussion with Prof. Dorota Skowronska- Krawczyk: Prof. Dorota Skowronska-Krawczyk recently spoke with the VitaDAO Aging Science Podcast team on the impact of aging on the eyes and how longevity science is tackling age-related eye diseases. Prof. Skowronska-Krawczyk highlighted that the eye is susceptible to aging and emphasized its role of senescence, stress, and inflammation, including age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. Currently, there is a lack of animal models for studying these conditions and potential treatments.
Prof. Skowronska-Krawczyk discussed how the work of her team focuses on deciphering the mechanisms of age-related eye degeneration, utilizing modern technologies to study unresolved issues such as the role of fatty acids in age-related neurodegeneration and stress in accelerated aging and how studying cases in the animal world could hold the key to eye health preservation.
World Longevity News
Lifespan’s Ryan O’Shea delves into Musk’s hate-hate relationship with living forever: Elon Musk’s perspective on longevity has long been noted as somewhat of a hate-hate relationship, with Musk describing ‘living forever’ as a curse more so than a blessing. Lifespan’s Ryan O’Shea weighs in on the discussion by discussing a recent Musk interview. The conversation unwraps Musk’s perspective on life extension and aging, which he views as a risk to creating a stagnant society and suggests that there’s value in human mortality.
O’Shea suggests that the longevity community acknowledges Musk’s statements and the questions that they raise about the ethical aspects of science and the importance of autonomy in life decisions. However, he also notes the advancements in regenerative biotechnology hold promise in enhancing the quality of life, which should not be held back. Underscoring the discourse is the need for individuals to have control over their own existence and its quality. Watch the full video to get the details.
Social media pages to follow this month
TheHumanAgingProject: Follow to get more insights into aging research.
Nir Barzilai: Check out Professor of Medicine and Genetics Nir Barzilai’s account to discover insights into the wider longevity sphere.
Morgan Levine: As a founding principal investigator of Altos Labs and former Yale professor, Morgan Levine covers a number of longevity-related interest areas.