Scott Murphy AVG Blog June 29, 2020

Science Strikes Back: Longevity

With recent advancements in bio-informatics, epigenetic reprogramming, and DNA repair, we appear to be on the cusp of meaningfully improving lifespan and making those years healthier.



Science Strikes Back: Longevity

June 29, 2020 | Scott Murphy

Our “Science Strikes Back” series introduces some of the most exciting, forward-leaning venture investment sectors in deep tech. Our Deep Tech Fund co-invests alongside established deep tech venture firms in companies taking on the toughest and potentially most lucrative technological challenges. Our point of view is that the need has never been higher for scientific thought and innovations tackling hard problems. Click below if you want to be notified when the fund opens in July 2020.

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Deep Tech Focus #2 – Longevity

Defining the Space

Longevity and healthy living tech are naturally of immense interest to most people — perhaps more so than ever because of recent developments. Remarkably, we appear to be on the cusp of meaningfully improving lifespan and making those years healthier. Work in bio-informatics, epigenetic reprogramming, and DNA repair coming out of The Sinclair Lab at HMS and elsewhere hold great promise for slowing and repairing the impacts of aging.

To understand the scope of the opportunity, consider a few stats:

  • Of all people who have ever lived past 65 in the entire history of the world, 2/3 are alive today.
  • The population of those 60+ more than doubled from 1980 to 2017 to 962M. By 2100, that number is expected to hit 3.1B.

While longevity and anti-aging innovations impact every sector from financial services to housing, our deep tech investment focus is primarily focused on healthcare and age tech.

Areas of Focus and Benefits

Considering age as a disease that can be treated

  • Biological aging really should be considered a disease, often at the core of other diseases, infirmity, and death.
  • Many chronic condition and degenerative diseases are at least partially caused by aging: adult onset diabetes, osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease, etc.
  • By addressing these mechanisms, people can age more slowly and significantly postpone or perhaps even prevent age-related diseases and extend healthy, productive years of living.

Slowed-aging

  • Developing class of drugs called senolytics.
  • Designed to eliminate cells that have ceased to divide and replicate.

Reverse aging

  • SENS Foundation and small set of researchers are involved in rejuvenation biotechnology
  • Capable of restoring youthful function and vigor

Benefits

  • Higher quality of life
  • More effective care and treatments
  • Lower overall health expenditure costs
  • Greater long-term productivity and more financial independence

Innovations in the Wings

  • Organs and tissues will be produced from stem cells and 3D bio-printing.
  • Nanorobots will be programmed to repair old or diseases cells to bolster immune systems and healing processes.
  • Indication expansion—the use of approved and sometimes off-patent, drugs—will increasingly be used for longevity and anti-aging (e.g., acarbose and rapamycin).
  • Stem cell therapy will explore pluripotent stem cells that can become any cell in the body, with the potential to be transformed into any young cell or tissue.

 

In Our Portfolio

AVG Portfolio Companies in the Extended Reality Space

These are just a few of our portfolio companies advancing the tech of longevity.

  • Allevi is a developer of 3D bioprinters and bioinks intended to cure disease, test novel drugs, eliminate the organ waiting list, and build with life.
  • Celularity is a developer of cellular therapies and biomaterials from the placenta to amplify the body’s ability to fight disease, heal, and regenerate itself.
  • Unity Biotechnology is a developer of small molecule medicines that potentially halt, slow, or reverse age-associated diseases, while restoring human health.

 

AVG’s Deep Tech Fund invests in a venture portfolio of companies on the cutting edge of innovation. Our point of view is that the need has never been higher for scientific thought and innovations tackling hard problems. Do you want to be notified when the fund opens in July 2020? Click below.

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