Joppe Nieuwenhuis, Innovation Scout at Rejuveron Life Sciences, discusses his views about the future of longevity and rejuvenation research and how it will merge with current medical frameworks and systems.
Rejuveron is a clinical-stage biotechnology company creating therapies to improve healthy aging. Its experienced drug discovery and development team applies a deep understanding of the biology of aging, alongside technological advances in biopharmaceutical R&D, to progress a new generation of medicines that will help people to age better and live longer.
Through its programs, each uniquely focused on preventing, repairing, or reversing the hallmarks of aging, Rejuveron is advancing a therapeutic pipeline that ranges from drug discovery to the clinic. Rejuveron’s business model is to create or acquire innovative programs, each being held within a wholly-owned or majority-owned company.
Co-founded in 2019 by entrepreneurial scientist, Matthias Steger, and visionary investor, Christian Angermayer, Rejuveron has state-of-the-art incubator laboratory facilities and offices at its headquarters in Zürich’s Bio-Technopark (Switzerland), New York (USA), as well as program teams located in Spain and Belgium.
An interview with Joppe Nieuwenhuis
After obtaining his PhD in functional genetics with publications in renowned journals, Joppe gained international dealmaking experience as Director Business Development at a bio-pharmaceutical CDMO. Currently, he focuses on identifying innovative programs to support the growth of Rejuveron and its programs.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I’m a business developer with a strong scientific background. I’ve always been interested in translating scientific breakthroughs to make a big impact on society. Biotechnology is shaped to do exactly that, and by combining my business development experience with my scientific background, I can add a piece to this very challenging puzzle.
Healthy aging and longevity are a particularly interesting space, as it is aimed to transform our thinking on the human aging process from something that has been accepted as a fact of life to something that we control, and potentially reverse.
What advice would you offer someone entering the field?
Longevity is still a young field, and a lot is happening simultaneously. Follow the science closely, but do not restrict yourself to just the healthy-aging and longevity companies. The longevity field will ride the wave of technical innovations that propel biotech advancement, just like any other medical advancement.
What are the major challenges as a business developer within the rejuvenation sector?
In my view, the main challenge for healthy aging is to improve our perception of preventative medicine and its development. This issue is shared by the general audience all the way to drug developers and regulatory agencies.
Our healthcare system is simply not optimally designed to prevent diseases, with an exception for communicable diseases, but it is likely that preventing age-related diseases would have a bigger impact than trying to revert a hallmark of aging.
As a business developer, I often see projects that aim to prevent diseases, and as much as I share the vision behind these projects, it is challenging to transform them into opportunities.
Which new approaches would you like to see emerge?
I believe, and hope, we will see a lot of innovative approaches for low-grade systemic inflammation. Its importance has been recognized for a very long time and impacts many key disease areas such as age-related cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
How do you see the future of the longevity industry?
I expect to see an accelerated maturation process in the longevity industry in the near future. There is a lot of momentum in the field right now, with great support from investors and academic groups identifying as healthy-aging or longevity-inspired organizations.
This will broaden the pyramid of academic inventions toward pharmaceutical products. We will probably learn what business model suits this industry best and the successful companies might get a lot of attention, with IPOs, clinical development milestones, and overcoming regulatory hurdles in the (near) future.
In the long term, longevity and healthy aging will become a mainstream part of drug development.