Feedback

Investment

#493399
Sponsored by:
Full year 2022 report on the state of longevity investment: the numbers, the sectors, the top deals, the key players and the outlook for 2023:

Annual longevity investment report 2022

Table of Contents:

Foreword

Report highlights

Introduction

Defining longevity

Longevity investment: the ten year trend

Longevity investment: spotlight on 2022

Longevity investment: breakdown by domain

Top 5 predictions for longevity investment in 2023

About us

Phil Newman

Editor-in-chief
Longevity.Technology

Natasza Klas (former)

Scientific Writer/Analyst
Market Intelligence Unit, Longevity.Technology

With more than 40 investments in the longevity field over the past three years, LongevityTech.fund is one of the world’s most active longevity investment funds. The fund’s wide-ranging portfolio includes companies like BrainKey, Mitrix, Pano Therapeutics, Genflow Biosciences, SENISCA, Gerostate Alpha, NOVOS and Occuity.

We expect to see significant growth in investor awareness about the longevity opportunity over the next two years. This growing awareness will lead to many more new investors entering longevity in 2025 and 2026, which will generally increase valuations across the field.

Now is the right time to start investing in longevity, both in order to benefit from more favourable valuations, but also to help companies at a critical stage in the development of this market.

The investment trend in a new market is often like an S-curve, where the beginning is slow in development, before accelerating to an exponential pace and then stabilising again. But in longevity, we see that the market is more of a mega trend – a compounding effect of multiple small trends, like multiple S-curves.

General investor awareness of this mega trend is not yet here, but it’s coming. And it’s coming in the next few years. And smart investors will get into the field before this happens.

Over the past few years, we have been able to develop the capability to make these assessments – not only through the strength of our internal team, but also through our existing portfolio of companies.

There is a huge amount of cooperation in longevity right now – we are always talking to our companies and even other investors about new opportunities, tapping into their scientific expertise or sharing due diligence. But this spirit of cooperation won’t last forever, so now is the time to take advantage of it.

LongevityTech.fund is now accepting new investors for its second fund, with a target fund size of $50 mm up to a maximum of $100 mm.

Petr Sramek
Co-founder & Managing Partner, LongevityTech.fund

  • Longevity investment has developed gradually over the last 10 years, from $0.5bn in financings in 2013 to a peak of $6.2bn in 2021, a breakout year for the longevity industry
  • Longevity investment has followed a trend correlated to biotech and fintech – albeit at <5% of the volume in these other sectors – we expect longevity to grow faster than biotech and be more resilient than fintech
  • $5.2bn was invested into 130 longevity companies in 2022 – down from $6.2bn into 190 companies in 2021
  • The $3bn financing for Altos Labs, the allegedly Jeff Bezos-backed company focused on cellular reprogramming, was the landmark deal in what was otherwise a considerable down year in longevity investment
  • Earlier stage financings were more resilient vs later stage and public financings
  • Number of deals and regional split indicated a more selective and less risk tolerant investor base
  • The US dominates the longevity field, in number of deals, volume of financings and size of deals
  • The regional split within the US is dominated by the traditional biotech hubs in California and Massachusetts
  • The leading longevity domains are ‘Longevity discovery platforms’, ‘Longevity drugs’, renewal therapies (‘Regeneration’, ‘Rejuvenation’, ‘Cellular reprogramming’) and ‘Gene therapies’
  • Our top prediction for 2023 is that breakthrough clinical progress will spur a pick-up in financing in 2H-2023

2022 was in many ways a pivotal year for the longevity industry. The eye-popping $3bn launch of Altos Labs, the $1bn annual investment commitment by the Hevolution Foundation, the mushrooming of the longevity conference event calendar and the frequency of mentions in mainstream publications of what was not long ago a true niche for scientists and enthusiasts were all major steps forward for this burgeoning ecosystem.

We at Longevity.Technology believe longevity is not just an industry or an ecosystem, but, is, above all, a new asset class. Of course, with the birth and maturing of an asset class come all sorts of questions: How do we define longevity? How does it relate to biotech? Where is it concentrated? How long has it been around? Who is involved? How did longevity do in 2022? And of course: Where is the industry going in 2023?

All valid questions, and we consider it our job to be the place where you can find the answers, today and going forward on a quarterly basis. If we can help define the industry, guide investors to where the innovation is going and entrepreneurs to where the capital is coming from, we are fulfilling our mission of moving longevity investment forward. 

This report is the start of this effort. We break down the industry into 25 domains, track investment data from the start of 2013 to today, and segment financing activity by location, domain and stage, tracking recent trends and identifying the top segments and key players. We believe this gives the longevity industry a solid baseline from which to assess progress going forward.

You do not need us to tell you that 2022 was a tough year for fundraising in longevity. Of course, the year was off to a solid start when Altos Labs came out of stealth; but when you strip out this massive $3bn ticket, a sobering picture emerges, with a meaningful year-over-year decline and a market slowing down throughout the year. Clearly, longevity is not immune to market forces which have swung from speculative excess to skepticism and caution. 

But we are optimists. Venture capital cycles are important, but they are much shorter than the long, gradual, secular sea changes in science, society’s understanding of healthspan and government and corporate thinking about preventative healthcare that longevity represents. From a macro perspective, a future marked by constrained government budgets and tightened consumer purse strings only underscores the urgency for the longevity community to translate its scientific pursuits into the force for overall global wellbeing it is destined to be.

So join us as we guide you through the world of longevity investment and we share our cautiously optimistic predictions for 2023. 

The megatrend longevity has huge potential investment implications. The longevity field will not just improve the lives of specific populations or patient groups and amplify the role of traditional biotech, but it promises to completely disrupt human health, with the potential for unprecedented returns for investors.

But: how do we define longevity?

Just a couple of decades ago, asking someone to define longevity would have drawn answers including “live forever”, “Holy Grail” and “Fountain of Youth”, but the field of geroscience has moved (and is moving) at an incredible pace, and this means the language we use to define and describe longevity has moved as well.

While the mainstream media still enjoy their headlines about keeping the rich alive for as long as possible, even just a couple of minutes on Google will reveal that longevity is about increasing lifespan and healthspan – increasing the time that is useful, healthy and disease-free.

Aging is no longer accepted as inevitable. Science has shown that it is a malleable process, and while one main cause has not been identified as the culprit (and this is not likely to ever be the case, for reasons we shall come to), the balance between quality control systems that maintain the integrity of our cells and the effects of “wear and tear” is something that plays a key role. This wear and tear eventually manifests in disease, whether that is kidney dysfunction, osteoarthritis or atherosclerosis.

Aging can be sped up or slowed down; your biological age can be different from your chronological age (the number of candles on your last birthday cake) and your various organs can have biological ages that differ from each other.

All this means that the path to longevity – the ability to live a longer, healthier life – is complicated.

But moving along a path has a trajectory, and it is a trajectory that can be modulated if you have targets you can go after.

Targeting the longevity trajectory

There are three targets to consider: Longevity determinants, Longevity drivers and Aging disease. 

  • Longevity determinants – three main factors: genetics, environment and lifestyle.
  • Aging drivers – molecular drivers that are impacted by internal programming and longevity determinants. These include, but are not limited to, the hallmarks of aging.
  • Aging disease – any disease phenotypes that have a strong link to aging, that is, the manifestation of the disease has been driven by an accumulation of damage and programming driven by longevity determinants and aging drivers.

Companies in the longevity industry are based around these three targets, aiming to modulate the trajectory by focusing on one or more of the four pillars of longevity intervention.

The four pillars of longevity intervention

  • Prevention – better than a cure, prevent the damage that accelerates aging by modifying longevity determinants and aging drivers.
  • Treatment – if damage has occurred, treat it. This is direct treatment of an aging disease.
  • Renewal – reverse the damage that has occurred, whether accumulated damage before disease has arisen, from aging drivers, or at the point of disease.
  • Diagnostics – spanning across all longevity determinants, aging drivers and at the points of aging disease, diagnostics provide early identification of health status and accumulation of aging damage.

Longevity domains

Understanding these four pillars means we can begin to see clusters in the longevity market, domains that categorise longevity from both a research and a market viewpoint. We at Longevity.Technology have categorised the longevity industry into 25 unique market domains.

Although this may seem like a long answer to a short question (“how do we define longevity”), the space is so varied and accelerating at such a pace, a narrow definition does no-one any favours. Longevity is not just extending healthspan, or lifespan or even youthspan, or preventing disease, or curing disease, or living more years of productive life, or compressing morbidity. It is all of these things and understanding how we can effect change through treatments, services, infrastructure and education is the key to moving beyond defining longevity to designing longevity.

The longevity universe

Having split the industry into 25 longevity domains, we now have the tools to define the longevity universe and keep track of its development. Our market intelligence unit has performed an in-depth analysis of the 482 longevity specific companies in our universe and is adding names on a weekly basis. This knowledge gives us a unique advantage in identifying trends and winners in the industry. Let’s get started.

The longevity universe: longevity companies by region

Longevity companies by region
Figure 1. All longevity companies by region as percentage of total. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

The longevity industry is heavily concentrated in the US, home to 62% of all longevity companies, and the undisputed global leader of the longevity industry, far ahead of Europe (incl. UK) and Asia (25% and 8%, respectively) [Figure 1].

It should come as no surprise that the US is the leading hub for longevity. On the demand side, the US has one of the highest aging populations with an estimated 16% of the population aged 65 and over [1]. Largely due to the high rate of obesity and the accompanying heart disease, diabetes, and other illnesses, this population is also one of the least healthy in the world with an ever increasing incidence of age-related chronic disease [2]. The demand is met by one of the most advanced healthcare systems and a high number of R&D activities. Crucially, innovation in healthcare is supported by the most developed biotech venture capital ecosystem in the world, coupled with growth in government investments in healthcare. 

Europe and the UK take second and third place, respectively. While dealing with similar health and aging profiles for their populations, the fragmentation of markets and regulatory regimes explain part of the delta with the US, combined with a lower risk tolerance for startups and venture capital in general. 

While currently lagging in proportion to its population size, we expect the Asia-Pacific region to experience the highest growth rate in the coming years, led by Japan and China with improvements in healthcare infrastructure and development of the R&D sector paving the way for technological advancements in longevity with anti-senescence therapies as a notable focus [3]. The incentives are particularly strong for Japan, which with 28% of the population aged 65 and over [1] has the most pressing aging population problem.

The first meaningful measurable activity in the longevity financing market was in 2013, which we will coin as the birth year of longevity investment. At the 10-year anniversary of this market, we observe a period of steady trendline growth with an explosion of activity in 2021 and 2022.

Total financing ($bn) 2013-2022
Figure 2. Longevity companies financing activity 2013-2022 in $bn. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

2021 was a breakout year for the longevity industry, buoyed by the general trend seen across the health and biotech sector. Following the start of the pandemic in 2020, 2021 recorded an all-time high of VC investment raised for any previous 12-month period across the health and biotech sector [4]. The longevity industry was a logical beneficiary of this trend, with more companies securing larger VC investments as well as increasing IPO activity.

Number of deals 2013-2022
Figure 3. Longevity companies and number of deals 2013-2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

The longevity industry got off to a good start in 2022. However, the Altos Labs deal made up over half of the total financing for 2022 and without it, the general growth trend would have followed a pre-2021 trajectory [Figure 2]. This is further highlighted by the large differences between average and mean values, suggesting a greater number of smaller value deals with a few large deal outliers [Figure 4]. The number of deals in 2022 held relatively steady, indicating a modicum of stability of investor interest for the year [Figure 3].

Median and average deal size ($mm) 2013 – 2022
Figure 4. Longevity companies median and average deal size in $mm 2013-2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

The last 10 years have seen financing in the longevity industry following a trend correlated to biotech and fintech [Figure 5] albeit at <5% of the volume in these other sectors. The correlation with biotech is obvious, with an overwhelming percentage of longevity companies being in drug development. We attribute the correlation to fintech to a similar dependence on investor tolerance for speculative investments with delayed visibility to profitability, a tolerance which waned in 2022 with geopolitical tension, rising inflation and interest rates. We believe that biotech (and by extension longevity) will to some extent disconnect from fintech for the simple reason that biotech venture capital has always been set up to fund drug development startups with low probability clinical trial outcomes and moonshot monetization potential and thus has a stable long-term investor base for an unchanged business model. In contrast, a lot of fintech venture capital was opportunistic and for many unprofitable business models in that space that are now seen as flawed there is no dedicated investor base. As such, our takeaways are:

  1. The 2022 downturn in longevity investment says more about macro than about the industry
  2. Its miniscule size relative to biotech and fintech highlights the upside potential for longevity
  3. While historically correlated to biotech and fintech, we expect longevity to grow faster than biotech and to be more resilient than fintech
Longevity vs biotech and fintech 2013 – 2022
Figure 5. Longevity, Biotech and Fintech financing activity 2013-2022 in $bn. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 Longevity companies, 24,421 Biotech companies and 33,435 Fintech companies.

The $3bn launch of Altos Labs in early 2022 was, of course, the landmark event of the year. We at Longevity.Technology have extensively covered the launch:

Altos Labs lands $3 billion to further cellular rejuvenation programming (longevity.technology)

with a recent update:

Five longevity companies to watch in 2023… and Altos

Taking a more detailed look at 2022, we see to what extent Altos Labs skewed the numbers last year with its $3bn size in Q1 dwarfing the total financing for the other 3 quarters [Figure 6].

On a quarterly basis, while the Altos Labs financing skewed the numbers in Q1, it was still the strongest quarter of the year with over $700mm in financing, The quarterly fluctuations and gradual decline may not seem all that statistically meaningful, but the decline in number of deals highlights a key feature of market sentiment, with investors being increasingly selective.

Total financing ($mm)
Deal count
Figure 6. Total financing $mm and total deal count by quarter in 2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

Looking at the breakdown between the various investment stage we make two observations, both moderately constructive for early stage companies [Figure 7]:

  1. A resilient median deal size at the seed and early stage end compared with later stage and public financings
  2. A gradually larger decline in total financings by deal stage in later stage vs earlier stage (excluding Altos Labs), and a total collapse in PIPEs (private investment in public equity) and IPOs (initial public offering).

Median deal size by stage and total financing by stage 2022 vs 2021

Median deal size ($mm) by stage
Total financing ($mm) by stage
Figure 7. Total financing in $mm and median deal size in $mm by stage 2022 vs 2021. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

Housing the highest number of longevity companies, and buoyed by the Altos Labs financing, the US received 90.6% of longevity investment dollars in 2022, with a significant lead, even if we exclude Altos. We surmise a flight of quality of sorts, with US investors staying closer to home [Table 1].

Region Financing by Location 2022 Financing by Location 2021
Total
($mm)
% of
Total
No. of Deals
Total
($mm)
% of
Total
No. of Deals
US 4749 90.6 87 3666 57.9 112
Europe (exc.UK) 177 3.4 15 973 15.8 25
UK 87 1.7 14 730 11.9 22
Non-Japan Asia 154 2.9 7 485 7.9 15
Israel – Middle East 2 0.0 2 137 2.2 7
Canada 2 0.0 3 8 0.1 3
Japan 23 0.4 1 37 1.8 1
Other 45 0.9 1 109 0.6 5
Table 1. Financing activity by location in 2022 vs 2021. 

Taking a closer look at the individual countries, shows Hong Kong (mostly driven by Insilico Medicine), France and the UK in close range, with Switzerland a more distant fifth [Figure 8].

Financing ($mm) top 5 countries of 2022
Figure 8. Financing in $mm in top 5 countries of 2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

The US dominated the market. The median value for the top 10 US deals was $88mm, compared with non-US, where the median deal size was $32mm.

We have extensively covered Alex Zhavoronkov’s Hong Kong-based Insilico Medicine for years, but 2022 was a real breakthrough year for the company, with the successful completion of its $95mm Series D financing and the announcement of its strategic partnership with Sanofi the key highlights among multiple other accomplishments.

Insilico Medicine boosts latest funding round to $95 million with Aramco backing – Longevity.Technology – Latest News, Opinions, Analysis and Research

Insilico signs $1.2b strategic research collaboration with Sanofi (longevity.technology)

Double clicking on the US, we are not surprised to see California taking the top spot, with Massachusetts in second place, although the extent of California’s dominance may be more striking than expected. We are of course interested in a broadening of the longevity innovation footprint across the US, and are intrigued by Washington state being third and by some decent activity coming out of Texas. [Figure 9].

Total financing ($mm) and number of deals – Top 5 states 2022
Figure 9. Total financing in $mm and number of deals for the top 5 US states in 2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies.

Senotherapeutics: Senotherapeutics encompasses a range of different methods when addressing senescence including: senolytics, senomodulators, senoblockers and senescence-associated immunomodulators. Each method comes with its own opportunities and challenges and ultimately could be used in combination to tackle cellular senescence.

Longevity genetics: The study of longevity genes is a developing science. It is estimated that about 25 percent of the variation in human life span is determined by genetics, but which genes, and how they contribute to longevity, are not well understood. Longevity genetic companies are on a mission to identify, and correct with gene therapies, to facilitate a longer life.

Longevity diagnostics: By tracking what is happening intrinsically within our bodies as we age, or monitoring our exposure to longevity determinants, longevity diagnostics have the potential to promote a healthier aging process.

Functional foods: The concept of “functional food” was introduced in Japan during the Eighties and refers to natural or processed foods that can exert beneficial properties on health, being able to improve a specific physiological function or reduce the risk of contracting a disease.

Longevity supplements: Longevity supplements haven’t been designed to just top-up nutrients missing from your diet. Companies in this space are deriving potent natural substances to target aging pathways or longevity determinants to improve healthspan at any age.

Longevity clinics: With so much work going into the research and science behind Longevity, it’s easy to forget what is happening on the front line. Longevity clinics are a first step in implementing Longevity science at the point of care.

Reproductive longevity: Companies that are tackling infertility and menopause by modulating aging drivers of reproductive organ aging.

Advanced aesthetics: Advanced aesthetics (AA) are therapeutics and technologies that preserve and/or rejuvenate the parts of our body that we associate with vitality and beauty (i.e. skin and hair). What makes AAs differ from cosmetics is that they go beyond merely concealing the byproducts of the aging process (i.e. wrinkles, hair loss, and skin discoloration) to address the root longevity driver that gives rise to the skin/hair aging phenotypes.

Pet longevity: There are many reasons why working on aging interventions in dogs makes sense. Not only is it heartening to believe that our four-legged best friends could live longer, healthier, and happier lives, but they are also a much more relevant model when it comes to translating these effects in humans. In the past few years, there have been a few start-ups that have entered the longevity industry in this manner.

Longevity discovery platforms: Drug discovery is a long, expensive, and often unsuccessful process. Platform technologies are considered a valuable tool to improve efficiency and quality in drug product development. There are many companies in the longevity space that are developing proprietary discovery platforms to enable the discovery of therapeutic targets for longevity.

Longevity drugs: Longevity pharmacology field promises to revolutionize the healthcare of a growing aging population. A longevity drug is any novel molecule that was designed or discovered to specifically act on a longevity gene/pathway (rapalogs, pgc1-activators, sirtuin modulators, etc).

Longevity immunity: Efficient immune defence mechanisms play an important role in the extension of an organism’s life span and the absence of diseases. Immunological studies have shown that centenarians exhibit important differences in their immune systems when compared with other elderly persons between the ages of 65 and above. Longevity immunity companies target the immune system directly to modulate and improve longevity.

Metabolic rejuvenation: Inhibition of high-nutrient-sensing pathways (for example, the insulin–insulin-like growth factor (IGF) and mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways) and activation of low-nutrient-sensing proteins (for example, 5′ AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and sirtuins) extend lifespan in various model organisms. Companies that are interested in metabolic rejuvenation study diet-based interventions, such as dietary restriction, and pharmacological interventions, including the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, to improve aspects of aging, even when administered late in life.

Longevity microbiome: Increasing evidence suggests that the gut microbiome could contribute to many age-associated changes, including immune system dysregulation and susceptibility to diseases. The gut microbiota undergoes extensive changes across the lifespan, and age-related processes may influence the gut microbiota and its related metabolic alterations.

Longevity neurotech: Neurotech offers a unique solution in the face of an aging population, and the associated rise in neurological conditions, because it can improve detection and diagnosis of conditions, facilitate their treatment – and maybe even provide a solution for their prevention. Neurotech can help us monitor the impact of our lifestyles and environments on our brain health and can also play a key role in aiding our understanding of pathology – not only early detection of pathology through better screening but modifying neuronal activity diseases’ early stages to halt their progression and prevent manifestation of symptoms.

Rejuvenation: Rejuvenation has many definitions in the Longevity Industry. Arguably, anything that reduces the biological age of a cell, organ or person is “rejuvenating”. Longevity.Technology has made rejuvenation a distinct category from reprogramming and regeneration, although both will technically rejuvenate cells and systems. Rejuvenation in this context is anything that takes the contents of a cell to a younger state due to intracellular clearance or rejuvenation of organelles within the cell.

Cellular reprogramming: Any company that is aiming to reverse an older cell into a younger cell state by directly reprogramming its code: i.e its genetic or epigenetic makeup. Cellular reprogramming by Yamanaka factors (OSKM) can reprogram somatic cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells even from an elderly 82-year-old donor. However, this came with therapeutic hazards as the technique involved complete dedifferentiation. There are companies that are aiming to find new genetic targets to reduce the epigenetic age whilst maintain the cells’ somatic identity (partial cellular reprogramming).

Repurposed drugs: Various medications that have already been designed, and approved, to treat particular pathological conditions have gone on to show pro-longevity effects in different experimental models. Among them, there are many commonly used prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceuticals such as metformin, rapamycin, aspirin, statins, melatonin, vitamin antioxidants, etc. Various longevity companies have taken it upon themselves to investigate these compounds in preclinical and clinical trials to repurpose them for extension of human healthspan.

Young blood: Emerging evidence suggests that the body co-opts the circulatory system to coordinate aging via the secretion of factors called chronokines. Chronokines can be “progeronic factors” or “youth factors” that accelerate aging or rejuvenate systems, respectively. Most companies developing therapeutics are looking for chronokines in the plasma of the blood to rejuvenate entire systems.

Regeneration: All living organisms have some ability to regenerate as part of natural processes to maintain tissues and organs. Regeneration is the natural process of replacing or restoring damaged or missing cells, tissues, organs, and even entire body parts to full function in plants and animals. Stem cell companies play an important role in regeneration because they can develop into many different cell types in the body, even producing entire tissues. Other companies are aiming to replace entire organs through methods such as xenotransplantation or tissue engineering.

Longevity neuropharma: Even in the absence of disease, many of us experience some deterioration of brain function as we age, such as a decline in memory, and age is the most important risk factor for the most common neurodegenerative diseases. Hence at Longevity.Technology, we include treatment of the deterioration of the brain as a big part of longevity. Longevity neuropharma is the developing drugs on the nervous system, aiming to develop compounds to benefit the most common age-related neurodegenerative diseases.

Aging in place: Part of longevity is being able to manage an unhealthy aging population so that they can be monitored to prevent progression of diseases. Aging in place companies are developing technologies such as wearables, sensors, apps that improve the lives of biologically older adults.

Longevity education: With aging science and technology evolving ever more quickly, there is a huge amount of knowledge and understanding that also needs to be shared beyond the longevity community. The goal of today’s many longevity education providers is to enable healthcare providers to learn more about the status and future of the longevity field.

Longevity lifestyle: Companies that target longevity by focusing on lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, stress and sleep. These companies make use of data gained from sensory devices, wearables, health assessments and biomarker panels, to provide users with actionable and evidence-based recommendations to improve their health and longevity.

Over the last five years, ‘Longevity discovery platforms’, ‘Longevity drugs’, renewal therapies (Regeneration, Rejuvenation, Cellular Reprogramming) and ‘Gene therapies’ have been leading the pack in longevity financing [Figure 10].

Total financing ($mm) by domain over the last 5 years
Figure 10. Total financing $mm by domain from 2018-2022. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies. Note that certain companies may fall under two or more different domains.

While cellular reprogramming’s top spot is solely due to Altos Labs, it does warrant a separate mention. First of all, even without Altos Labs, cellular reprogramming would still be in the Top 10 over the last 5 years, and secondly, the fact that it is concentrated in one company does not diminish the impact on the field. Since the groundbreaking work by Takahashi and Yamanaka in 2006 which first demonstrated that age-related cellular changes can be reversed, the field of cellular reprogramming has gained a great deal of traction. The revolutionary possibilities that cellular reprogramming holds, if it can be mastered, would have immense impact on health span and even lifespan. The field also attracted some big names – Altos Labs has reportedly been backed by Jeff Bezos, and Calico Labs, a Google spinout, is tackling aging in part by focusing on cellular reprogramming. Cellular reprogramming should continue to grow and attract significant capital, but investors must recognise that these companies are only at the ‘pre-clinical in vitro’ and ‘pre-clinical in vivo’ stages.

Looking at 2022, we see the impact of the Altos Labs financing, which accounts for the lion’s share of the cellular reprogramming contribution. We can also see how concentrated the space is, with the Top 5 domains accounting for almost 80%, and the Top 10 for 93% of investments [Figure 11].

2022 financing ($mm) – Top 10 domains as % of total
Figure 11. Top 10 domains in 2022 based on total financing $mm. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies. Note that certain companies may fall under two or more different domains.

The below chart shows how each domain fared in 2022 vs 2021 [Figure 12]. Most notable are the pronounced declines in regeneration, longevity genetics and longevity diagnostics, and the almost complete disappearance in 2022 of some of the smaller domains that attracted meaningful investment in 2021.

Financing ($mm) by domain 2022 vs 2021
Figure 12. Total investment in $mm by domain in 2022 vs 2021. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies. Note that certain companies may fall under two or more different domains.

A more detailed look at the top 5 domains in 2022 vs 2021 shows us, of course, the meteoric rise of cellular reprogramming, and the disappearance of longevity diagnostics and genetics. Longevity diagnostics received significant investment in 2021, corresponding to 10% of total longevity funding, possibly buoyed by a broader focus on diagnostics as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Such a level of investment was not repeated in 2022. A similar trend was seen for longevity genetics which largely, but not exclusively, consists of companies working on gene therapies. The spike in 2021 activity mirrors an overall trend seen across the broader gene therapy market which saw an increasing number of clinical catalysts and more regulatory approval [5]. We consider this a promising area; however, the strict regulatory environment also means there is considerable risk and the investment trends may swing considerably year over year [Table 2].

Regeneration was the top domain in 2021, but it fell to 5th place in 2022 [Table 2]. 2021 was a particularly good year for regenerative companies within longevity, with six deals over $100mm and a median deal size of $30.5mm. This compares with 2022 where the median deal size was $16.6mm. Looking at the trends, the global tissue regeneration market as a whole is predicted to continue to grow [6], and it is safe to assume that the rise of age-related degenerative disease will continue to drive demand.

Top 5 domains in 2022 vs 2021
Financing 2021 – Top 5 Domains
Domain Rank Total ($mm) % of Total
Regeneration 1 1540 17.8
Longevity discovery platforms 2 1290 12.6
Longevity drugs 3 986 11.4
Longevity diagnostics 4 892 10.3
Longevity genetics 5 878 10.1
Financing 2022 – Top 5 Domains
Domain Rank Previous year rank Total ($mm) % of Total
Cellular reprogramming 1 7 3220 48.8
Longevity discovery platforms 2 2 763 11.6
Longevity drugs 3 3 481 7.3
Rejuvenation 4 6 454 6.9
Regeneration 5 1 313 4.7
Rest 1374 20.8
Table 2. Top 5 domains based on total financing in $mm and percentage of total in 2022 vs 2021, including the ranking for each domain in 2022 vs the same domain ranking in 2021. Deal types included in analysis are: Accelerator/Incubator, Angel, Corporate, Early Stage VC, Later Stage VC, Equity Crowdfunding, IPO, PE Growth/Expansion, PIPE, Public Investment 2nd Offering and Seed Round. Analysis by Longevity.Technology, according to Pitchbook data as of 6th January 2023, based on 482 companies. Note that certain companies may fall under two or more different domains.

Anyone in the longevity ecosystem has, in one way or another, been confronted with the painful reality of a dramatically changed startup funding climate in 2022. It certainly feels like this:

But as we look towards 2023 and beyond, let’s remember that all participants in the longevity community are playing the “long game”, including the financiers in the private markets. The chart below places where we currently are in the evolution of the longevity industry in perspective and allows us all to focus on our objectives for the year ahead.

Being at the intersection of where longevity entrepreneurs and investors meet, we do have some things to say about what to expect in 2023.

1. Breakthrough clinical progress spurs pick-up in financing in 2H-2023

Let’s start with the big question – what will happen in longevity investment? After enduring (and surviving) a 2-year biotech winter, we can see light at the end of the tunnel as we identify two supporting factors: 

1) the increasing breadth of innovation in the field combined with the lesser dependence of the seed/Series A market on a fully functioning IPO market will inevitably lead to a break in the gridlock in early stage longevity investment 

2) a (sobering) realisation on the part of startups that the pitch should be indication-focused with longevity-upside vs a longevity pitch with some possible indications. 

So yes, we do expect to see biotech investors get back to the business of funding the pipeline of longevity drugs. Of course, they want to see more validating data, and they want concrete target indications with strong commercial appeal, but from what we see in the pipeline, we expect longevity entrepreneurs to be up to the challenge. Watch for some eye-catching clinical progress in the space to be the catalyst to a pick-up in successful financings by 2H-2023.

2. Deeper longevity engagement by Big Pharma

Some of that enthusiasm might come from a new source. Tangible evidence of Big Pharma taking longevity seriously started to emerge in 2022, notably with Pfizer investing in VitaDAO. But below the radar, the wheels have been turning for a while and Big Pharma BD (business development) and venture arms were increasingly circling the longevity space last year. We expect some noteworthy activity and identify Phase 2 candidates as the sweet spot where Big Pharma’s need for data and biotech startups’ need for big pockets intersect. 

3. Competition for trailblazers in longevity

Which companies may be so lucky to attract dollars? The trailblazers in longevity seem to have had the field (or at least the spotlight) to themselves for the last couple of years, with every news article in the space mentioning the same handful of names. We think this may be about to change. From where we stand, we see a pipeline of promising up and coming players challenging these trailblazers with new platforms or in specific longevity domains. Competition is validation?

4. Non-biotech longevity gains share with longevity clinics proliferating

Of course, longevity innovation is dominated by biotech, but it is much more than just that. And in 2023, we expect a confluence of venture capital gravitating towards early revenue traction and the lower barriers to entry in the space to lead to non-biotech longevity startup activity gaining share of overall investment dollars. Amidst continued robust marketplace activity in aging diagnostics and longevity supplements, we specifically anticipate an accelerating proliferation of longevity clinic formation worldwide.

5. A new bold-faced entrant into the field of longevity

Our final prediction is admittedly a bit of a wild card. Last year we saw Hevolution as a notable entrant into the longevity investment space in the footsteps of Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin and Yuri Milner. Hevolution quickly became the talk of the town, with every longevity startup founder eager to find out details about their deployment plans. It’s only a matter of time for a new bold-faced name to enter the longevity field. With 2023 slated to be another big year for longevity, it could be another billionaire, but why not a mainstream financial player? Stay tuned.

Our company, First Longevity Ltd, is a UK-headquartered media and investment organisation exclusively focused on the longevity industry. 

Started in 2018 by CEO, Phil Newman, the company incorporated and raised pre-seed capital in 2020 to scale its operations internationally. 

With over 70% of website traffic now coming from the US, First Longevity’s brand, Longevity.Technology, is central to longevity market awareness and the company’s commercial expansion:

  • Media: we are the leading media destination for daily news and insights in the longevity market;
  • Investment: our unique longevity-focused brokerage operation has growing deal flow and operates in US and UK regulated markets;
  • Data/Intel: we continue to develop commercial and scientific datasets to increase our analytical advantage and build intellectual capital;
  • Consumer: we have continued to grow our media presence by launching a B2C ‘lifestyle’ channel to build consumer awareness and engagement in their own longevity.

References 

[1] Countries with the oldest populations in the world (2019) PRB. Available at: https://www.prb.org/resources/countries-with-the-oldest-populations-in-the-world/

[2] (2023) Unhealthiest country in the world 2023. Available at: https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/unhealthiest-country-in-the-world

[3] Suraj, S and Onkar, S (2022) Longevity and anti-senescence therapy market statistics – 2030 Allied Market Research. Available at: https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/longevity-and-anti-senescence-therapy-market-A14010

[4] Rodriguez Bernate, L (2022) 2021: A breakthrough year for Healthtech & Biotech, Dealroom.co. Available at: https://dealroom.co/blog/2021-a-breakthrough-year-for-healthtech-biotech

[5] Kemler, S and Lohr, A (2022) Cell & Gene Therapy Investment Outlook in 2022 & beyond, Cell Gene Therapies Investment Outlook In 2022 Beyond. Available at: https://www.cellandgene.com/doc/cell-gene-therapies-investment-outlook-in-beyond-0001

[6] Global Tissue Regeneration Market – industry trends and forecast to 2029 (2022) Tissue Regeneration Market Opportunities, Drivers, & Global Analysis By 2029. Available at: https://www.databridgemarketresearch.com/reports/global-tissue-regeneration-market

Subscribe to our newsletter

Hidden