Founders Longevity Forum – insights and highlights

Experts discuss breakthroughs and challenges in longevity science, from women’s health to the future of organ replacement.

Reporting from the scene, Dominika Wilczok contributes her third and final piece of the day on the augural Founders Longevity Forum in London.

The concluding session of the day began with a panel discussion on investing in contemporary longevity companies, featuring Petr Sramek, Judith Mueller, Jörg Rieker and Whitney Casey. The panelists explored lesser-known challenges in longevity entrepreneurship, including the underrepresentation of women’s health – which, despite its affecting roughly 52% of the population, is still considered niche by some – and the hurdles faced in fundraising.

Aubrey de Grey provided an overview of emerging and promising strategies for healthy lifespan extension. He discussed clinical considerations and the latest findings from the robust mice rejuvenation study, which supports rapamycin’s life-extending potential. Emphasizing the promise of preclinical companies, Sebastian Brunemeier, Christin Glorioso and David Meinhart shared their insights on the essential needs for early-stage longevity companies to thrive. They highlighted the often-overlooked challenges that can be critical for investors to understand, drawing attention to the importance of effective communication in fostering a successful and prosperous field.

Todd White discussed how decentralized science could bridge the drug discovery valley of death, particularly in longevity research. The second set of startup pitches began with Robin Mansukhani from Deciduous Therapeutics, who emphasized the crucial role of the immune system in eliminating senescent cells. Hartmut Geiger, Cofounder of MoglingBio, highlighted the potential of casein analogs for rejuvenating stem cells, while Ponce Therapeutics CEO and President Kevin Slawin concluded by introducing Ponce’s novel senotherapeutic platform.

As the event drew to a close, the “moonshots” session took us a step closer to the extraordinary. Emil Kendziorra, David Kraft and Jean Hébert agreed that current efforts to combat aging are neither fast nor efficient enough, instead proposing unconventional approaches such as tissue and organ replacement, bone marrow transplantation, cell rejuvenation and xenotransplantation. However, having a backup is always a good plan, and as a contingency plan, Dr Kendziorra has established a cryopreservation company; he clarified that while it is cool technology, cryopreservation is not freezing per se. Rather, it involves replacing blood with a very cold liquid to literally petrify individuals. Although we have not yet perfected the technique for reheating humans, we have successfully done so with eggs and sperm cells.

Stasa Stankovic and Martin Varsavsky presented on female reproductive longevity, focusing on the genetic architecture of ovarian aging – with over 300 associated genetic factors – and the development of artificial ovaries, which have already passed phase 3 trials. The session’s key takeaway was: “We are programmed to age, but the ovaries are programmed to age faster.”

The final session featured a Q&A with longevity investors Sergey Jakimov, Oliver Colville, Michael Greve and Nils Regge. They discussed strategies for targeting longevity within existing companies and the importance of educating physicians on the latest longevity medicine methods. When asked about their top longevity picks, they listed healthy lifestyles, decalcification, improving glucose sensitivity and boosting autophagy.

In the words of LongeVC investor Sergey Jakimov: “We need success stories, and we need to stop making excuses.”

Evidenced by the buzzing networking sessions and the eagerness of attendees to connect, the Founders Longevity Forum has proven to be a pivotal hub for longevity CEOs, investors and those who are getting started with their longevity ideas.

Here’s to collaboration in the pursuit of longevity!

Catch up with more proceedings from the day! Read PART ONE HERE and PART TWO HERE.

About Dominika Wilczok

With a background in using AI for early Alzheimer’s detection, advocating against ageism, and establishing an NGO centered around Healthy Longevity, for 5 years, Dominika has been working to close the healthspan-lifespan gap. Her current work encompasses longevity medicine, and AI-driven approaches to end aging, and you can watch her TEDX talk on longevity medicine, aging research and AI HERE.