Founded in 2001 by David Gobel and Dr. Aubrey de Grey, the Methuselah Foundation was one of the very first organizations to champion the idea that aging wasn’t an inevitable fact of life but rather a process amenable to medical intervention.
The Foundation, a non-profit organization, has been pushing to reach its goal—making 90 the new 50 by 2030—for fourteen years at the time of writing, funding several projects in the field of regenerative medicine for a total of over four million dollars.
Supporting tissue engineering and bioprinting
Over the years, Methuselah Foundation has partnered with other leading organizations of the fields of 3D bioprinting, tissue engineering, and rejuvenation biotechnologies, such as Organovo, the Institute of Competition Sciences, the World Stem Cell Summit, and SENS Research Foundation, which was spun off Methuselah Foundation itself in 2009 as an independent organization focused on basic research into rejuvenation therapies.
Methuselah is the founder of the Methuselah Mouse Prize and the New Organ prize series. The former is aimed at encouraging the development of life extension therapies in mice that may eventually be repurposed to be used in humans; the New Organ series currently offers a $1,000,000 Liver Prize for the first team to successfully bioengineer a working animal liver, and a $500,000 Vascular Tissue Challenge prize will be divided among the first three teams who can successfully create human vascularized organ tissue in vitro. Notably, the Vascular Tissue Challenge prize is awarded in partnership with NASA as part of its NASA’s Centennial Challenges program.
Among other grants awarded by Methuselah are the $5,000 grant awarded in July 2013 to the late Dr. Stephen Coles of the Gerontology Research Group for a study on personalized gene sequencing to improve chemotherapeutic treatments as well as a $10,000 research grant awarded to Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães to sequence the genome of the bowhead whale and study the mechanisms of its impressive longevity—its average lifespan is estimated at over 200 years.
Other companies that have been supported financially by the Methuselah Foundation include Leucadia Therapeutics, which is focusing on novel therapeutic strategies to fight the root causes of Alzheimer’s disease, and Oisin Biotechnologies, one of the first senescent cell clearance startups.
The Methuselah Fund
In order to speed up the creation of a prolific rejuvenation biotechnology industry, the Methuselah Foundation launched the Methuselah Fund in early 2017. As discussed on Fight Aging!, this fund is meant to help the most promising scientific groups kickstart new rejuvenation biotech companies, taking us closer to a point where effective therapies against aging are widely available.
Professional investors and enthusiastic supporters can all contribute to the Methuselah Fund, either directly or through the Methuselah 300 program—an initiative to gather people who have committed to donating $25,000 over 25 years in order to further the cause of rejuvenation therapies.
Methuselah’s co-founder David Gobel is a known philanthropist, inventor, entrepreneur, and futurist. Notably, among Methuselah’s staff is also Kevin Perrott, co-founder of SENS Research Foundation and a Ph.D. candidate studying cellular senescence in a collaboration between the University of Alberta and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging.