At-home blood test powers personalised longevity advice

AgeRate develops proprietary DNA methylation clock and mobile app solution to offer users personalised longevity support.

Canadian startup AgeRate is aiming to shake up the world of biohacking with an at-home blood test and science-backed app that delivers health and longevity advice to users. The company has developed its own epigenetic biological age clock, the results of which are combined with a wide range of additional biodata and analysed to provide personalised lifestyle recommendations that target specific health and aging improvements.

Longevity.Technology: AgeRate is aiming to leverage its cost-effective epigenetic testing technology to help people live healthier longer. The company has just “beta-launched” its product with its first 200 users from a waiting list of more than 5,000. We caught up with the company’s founder and CEO Cole Kirschner to learn more about the technology’s origins and where it goes from here.

The company’s story begins in 2018 at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, where Kirschner was involved in a research project to develop a cost-effective way of measuring DNA methylation to predict biological age. After winning a local startup competition, the topic of commercialisation became a serious one.

“We thought we could actually take this research and commercialise it,” says Kirschner. “Back then, there really weren’t that many tests for biological age, or this new and exciting idea that people could actually begin to benchmark progress towards slowing down the aging process.”

And so AgeRate was born.

Cost-effective DNA methylation clock

“Our mission is to unlock the secret to living a longer and healthier life by redefining aging,” says Kirschner. “We’ve built an at-home blood test combined with a mobile app that allows our users to reveal how fast they’re aging and monitor some of the hallmarks of aging so they can make the right lifestyle choices sooner to be healthier for longer and truly conquer the aging process.“

Since incorporating in 2018, the company has been focused on developing the underlying platform, in particular the final version of the DNA methylation technology that it would use.

“We’ve developed a custom chip that allows us to measure biological age and deliver additional health and longevity insights using DNA methylation for a relatively affordable price,” says Kirschner. “We have our mobile app ready, we’ve run our first batch of tests, and we’re ready to do our beta launch now.”

Going beyond biological age

AgeRate’s biological age clock was built on a dataset of around 14,000 people, and Kirschner says it provides comparable results to other published DNA methylation clocks, such as those developed by UCLA professor Steve Horvath. But it’s what AgeRate does beyond biological age that is potentially even more interesting – especially for the biohacking community.

“The differentiating factor with what we’re doing is that we have these other insights that we get with the methylation data,” says Kirschner. “We have other predictors, like chronic inflammation, metabolic health and immune health, which gives people a better understanding in terms of why they might be aging faster or slower than normal.

In addition, AgeRate’s mobile app uses the test results, and, in the near future, integrations with wearable devices, to deliver personalised lifestyle recommendations.

“We take a risk factor-based approach with the recommendations in order to identify the top areas of improvement that people should be focusing on in terms of their lifestyle, to help them improve by the time they take their next test,” explains Kirschner. “The app has some gamification features in there as well – not only providing users with a snapshot of where they are right now, but encouraging them to discover what lifestyle changes may work best for them and benchmark progress towards slowing down aging.”

Building a longevity marketplace

AgeRate is also developing a marketplace as part of its solution, which will see it link up with companies offering products and services to help users achieve their longevity goals.
“These could be health and wellness providers or companies offering a supplement or a digital health app, who can feature their products and services on our marketplace,” says Kirschner.

“In turn, the long-term vision for working with them is to help them validate how effective their intervention is, in terms of actually slowing down the aging process.”

In the beta launch, users can choose between a baseline test or two tests at either end of a three-month window to monitor the impact lifestyle changes make on their test results.

“There haven’t been many longitudinal studies out there showing the ideal testing frequency for this kind of test, but we’re going on the assumption that someone can do the test annually to notice a meaningful change in the test results,” he explains. “What we’re doing with our beta launch is to use the data to track the impact of lifestyle changes as closely as possible so we can provide customers with the best possible experience.”

While the final decision will be based on the results of the beta launch, Kirschner says that the final product will likely be sold as an annual package ($249 for one test per year) along with a quarterly “improvement” package ($179 per test, four times per year).

AgeRate expects its full launch to happen in January 2022, and is actively raising a Seed funding round.

Images courtesy of AgeRate; main image features AgeRate co-founders Dr Guillaume Paré, CSO, Nathan Cawte, COO, and Cole Kirschner, CEO