Today, we want to spotlight NOVOS, a nutraceutical company that is focused on developing science-based nutraceuticals to slow down aging and that will offer tests to track people’s aging processes and get a better picture of their health. The company is launching two new supplements: NOVOS Core and NOVOS Boost.
NOVOS claims that its nutraceuticals:
- Are based on the best available science
- Are created with the help of top experts in the aging field
- Use scientifically validated ingredients that extend lifespan in various organisms
- Are focused on nine or more aging mechanisms to leverage synergistic effects
- Include ingredients shown to have beneficial effects on aging in humans
NOVOS is also a Public Benefit Corporation, which means its activities have to benefit the general public. NOVOS will use parts of its profits to fund fundamental aging research.
INTERVIEW WITH NOVOS
We had the opportunity to talk with Chris and Kris about NOVOS and why they believe their product could shake up the nutraceutical industry.
This is part one of what will be a two-part interview; the next part is going to focus on the science and the chosen ingredients that go into these nutraceuticals and explore why NOVOS believes that they could have an impact on aging.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, Kris, and what motivated you to get into this field?
Kris: Since a young age, I have been fascinated by science. I started digging up dinosaur bones in the front yard when I was five years old, to the great dismay of my mother. But one of my greatest interests is the human body. So I studied medicine. And when you study medicine, you come to the realization that most diseases that plague our bodies are aging-related diseases, such as heart disease, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, cancer, and so on. In other words, if you study aging, you can much better understand how these diseases arise and how to treat and prevent them. Also, I love philosophy, so the question why our lifespans are finite and why we have to die is a very interesting one that can best be answered in the light of biology and evolution.
Same question to Chris?
Chris: Like Kris, I’ve had an interest in science from a young age. When I was 5, I wanted to be a geologist, and by 8, it had changed to physicist. When I was 12, I took up programming at the same time as weightlifting and “healthy” eating, and I had my first job at a NYC tech startup when I was 15. I immediately fell in love with the fast-paced, innovative, disruptive nature of entrepreneurship, but I had to unexpectedly pump the brakes when I was 16: I had a sudden seizure that was later found to have been caused by a brain tumor. The experience was a profound challenge that I look back on as a gift.
Although I had made a decision by then to pursue entrepreneurship rather than science, my passion for health grew deeper after my experience. Over time, I dug into my genome to try to uncover clues for what led to my brain tumor. I regularly turned to PubMed to learn more about health, biology, and substances that could improve health. Naturally, my path led me to longevity and the mechanisms of aging: the common denominator for so much that goes wrong as we age and leads to our ultimate demise.
Can you tell us a little about NOVOS?
Chris: We created NOVOS out of a frustration we both had: why are there so few good, science-based supplement companies? Our answer to that question was NOVOS, a company that develops science-based, data-driven nutraceuticals to slow down aging. It’s the first company that targets nine important mechanisms of aging, such as epigenetic dysregulation, mitochondrial dysfunction, accumulation of proteins, DNA damage, and so on. We use combinations of ingredients to target these aging mechanisms in a synergistic way. We looked into thousands of scientific papers, conferred with our scientific advisory board members who are top scientists in aging, and scoured databases to create our first foundational product, a nutraceutical that contains the best ingredients we currently have to impact aging.
Can you give us an overview of the two launch products: Core and Boost?
Chris: The foundational product is NOVOS Core: this product contains 12 ingredients to slow down aging via 9 mechanisms. It is a nutraceutical powder to mix with your drink. NOVOS Boost consists of capsules containing only one ingredient: NMN. People can add Boost to their Core regimen for added benefits. We think NMN is an interesting substance relevant to aging, but there are many more interesting substances, which is why we created the NOVOS Core nutraceutical.
There are many companies producing supplements; what makes what you are doing different?
Kris: Most “anti-aging” supplements have very little or no scientific evidence that they can extend lifespan. Also, many supplements are based on outdated ideas about aging, such as the idea that aging is mainly driven by oxidative stress and that antioxidants can fix this. Many large studies have shown that antioxidants don’t slow down aging, unfortunately. In fact, some antioxidants might even accelerate aging. So, NOVOS is different in the sense that we base ourselves on scientific insights and studies to identify the most promising substances to slow down aging.
We are also different in the sense that our nutraceutical targets multiple aging mechanisms. The very few other supplement companies that also base themselves on science often only use one or two ingredients that mainly focus on the NAD pathway, like NR – nicotinamide riboside. Aging, however, is caused by many other mechanisms than just dysregulation of the NAD pathway. So, our ingredients not only increase NAD but also improve the aging epigenome in various ways, for example, by upregulating TET enzymes. Our ingredients act also on other aging mechanisms, like protein accumulation, for example, by increasing autophagy – the digestion of proteins – and by using substances that act as chaperones, which protect proteins, or by using ingredients that induce the unfolded protein response, which forces our cells to maintain their protein metabolism more efficiently. Other ingredients improve mitochondrial functioning, for example, by increasing mitochondrial biogenesis or by improving the way mitochondria process sugars, fats and proteins. Still other ingredients stabilize the DNA, while others can reduce cross-linking.
You can look at our aging bodies as a house that starts to wear down. If you only try to fix the leaky gutter, and not the flooded basement and broken windows and crumbling walls, you are not really going to slow down the deterioration of the house. The same is true for our aging bodies: we need to impact as many aging mechanisms as possible.
Another difference with most other supplement companies is that we have a great scientific advisory board consisting of some of the world’s top scientists in the aging field.
A small but not insignificant difference relates to the dosing: we use sachets for NOVOS Core instead of capsules. Often, the doses many supplement companies provide are too low. If you want to use effective doses, you often need grams of a specific substance, which is impossible to put into a single pill.
Why take the dietary supplement path and not a pharma one?
Kris: We have the impression that many big pharma companies are not going about addressing aging in a good way. Pharmaceutical companies often study single ingredients, but to address aging, you need to use combinations of different substances to address various aging mechanisms.
Also, big pharma is not really interested in natural substances that have been shown to slow down aging because they cannot be patented: the information is already out there in the public domain. You can, of course, patent synergistic combinations, as we did for the NOVOS Core formulation, but as mentioned earlier, pharma does not like to use combinations of drugs.
Additionally, many pharma companies do not know a lot about the aging process. They often think aging is a natural process and that diseases like heart disease or Alzheimer’s are wholly unrelated. This is not actually the case: the same processes that cause aging cause all these aging-related diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, osteoarthritis, and Alzheimer’s.
This is a reason why pharma often develops drugs that treat symptoms but not the underlying causes of diseases. Antihypertensive drugs, for example, block calcium channels in the cells in blood vessel walls, so that the blood vessels dilate more, but these drugs do not address the root cause of hypertension, which is caused by crosslinking, protein accumulation, and senescent cells in the blood vessel wall, among others. These are inherent aging processes, which are additionally accelerated by an unhealthy lifestyle.
Also, a significant proportion of people prefer taking ingredients found in nature when possible rather than something invented by a pharmaceutical company. To that point, newly synthesized drugs cost hundreds of millions of dollars and often require 10 to 15 years for safety and efficacy testing.
Going the supplement route, but in a very scientific way, is a great solution to these problems.
There is a perception that the largely unregulated supplements industry is basically akin to the wild west, with people making wild “anti-aging” and other unfounded claims. How do you think NOVOS might help avoid this issue and contribute to meaningful scientific progress?
Chris: Generally speaking, many supplement companies aim to make a quick buck, or they primarily rely on market trends and profitability when determining which products to offer. Very few supplement companies refer to good science and data first and foremost. Even fewer companies are equipped with a team of respected scientists and MDs who are themselves conducting the research. NOVOS is exceptional in this regard. We’re also a Public Benefit Corporation, meaning that we set science and the public interest as a top priority. A part of our profits will be used to fund basic aging research.
On the topic of anti-aging claims, we have learned more about aging in the last 10 years than in the 1,000 years prior. Recently, studies have shown that various specific ingredients can slow down aging, while other studies have debunked old concepts about aging, like that we mainly age because of oxidative damage, an outdated idea that many supplement companies still promote with antioxidants.
So, the time is now right for NOVOS to release science-based longevity supplements. We will further test our supplement in humans by using the latest tests to measure aging, like epigenetic tests, hematological clocks, and cardiovascular tests.
Kris: We also plan to offer these tests online to our customers so that they can assess their own biological age and health. We are strong believers in “empowered patients”: people taking their health into their own hands.
We are witnessing a new revolution in medicine in the sense that wearables, insidables, invisibles, AI, and more comprehensive tests will enable people to track their health from home while using AI that will be much better and smarter than a human doctor to track their health.
We want to empower people to keep track of their health and bodies while also helping them to slow aging, the process that affects everyone, and sooner or later, we as a species will be able to considerably slow down and potentially even reverse it using both low-tech and high tech approaches. The next decades will be very exciting!
We would like to thank Chris and Kris for taking the time to talk about NOVOS with us today, and we urge you to check back with us in the new year for part two, where we will take a deep dive into the science behind NOVOS.
Disclosure: A portion of the profits and equity from NOVOS are being donated to nonprofits working in the longevity science space, which includes us here at Lifespan.io.
Our Vice President, Dr. Oliver Medvedik, is also a scientific consultant, putting him in good company with Dr. Joao Pedro Magalhaes, Dr. Pamela Maher, Dr. Avi Rosenbaum, and Dr. Matt Kaeberlein, names with whom regular readers may be familiar.