Hevolution announces $400 million surge in healthspan funding

Global nonprofit foundation awards healthspan research funding to Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Northwestern University.

Hevolution Foundation, a global nonprofit organization that provides grants and early-stage investments to incentivize research and entrepreneurship in healthspan science, has announced it has committed $400 million to healthspan sciences over the last 21 months, a move that positions the Foundation as the world’s largest philanthropic funder of geroscience.

Longevity.Technology: Hevolution is all about capital – but not just dollars – human capital. The foundation recognizes that compressing morbidity is a social, health and financial imperative that needs to happen on a macro level, through public health and social, but also on a small scale through person-centered sort of personalized healthcare. As well as infrastructure, this will take research and technology that addresses the biological aging process and intervene before chronic diseases of aging take hold, and that is going to take human capital and talent. Hevolution’s view is that there is not sufficient human capital in this space, and so it aims to support the education and training of individuals in geroscience, an area it feels has been hugely underrepresented in government budgets. Hevolution plans to nurture human capital and catalyze the longevity field, extending maximum healthy human lifespan in a democratized and scalable fashion.

“We’re spending a decade of life in poor health – this is a decade too many,” said Dr Mehmood Khan, Chief Executive Officer at Hevolution Foundation. “Our current healthcare system focuses more on intervention, but our goal is to address the underlying causes of aging and age-related diseases. Geroscience and healthspan science are critically underfunded, which is why Hevolution is stepping up to bridge this gap. We’re proud to be the world’s largest philanthropic funder in geroscience.”

“This is one of the most exciting times in the research on the biology of aging, due to the multiple experimental proofs that show we can modulate the way organisms age. However, we all fear that the scarcity of funding may hinder progress,” said Dr Ana Maria Cuervo, Co-Director at Einstein Institute for Aging Research, whose institution was awarded $20.2 million over five years. “Timely support through the many programs of the Hevolution Foundation will be key to recruiting and retaining new talent in this field, maintaining momentum, and accelerating the discovery and implementation of gerotherapeutic interventions to ensure healthy aging.”

Northwestern University was awarded $32.3 million, also over five years.

“We are thrilled that the Proteostasis Consortium is partnering with the Hevolution Foundation to address this fundamental question on the biology of aging,” said Dr Richard I Morimoto, Bill and Gayle Cook Professor of Biology at Northwestern University. “Our team, including researchers at Northwestern, the University of California San Francisco, the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease, Stanford, Scripps Research, Harvard Medical School and the Health Research Institute of Asturias (ISPA), is working to provide new insights on the molecular biology of healthy aging and develop approaches to rejuvenate cellular and organismal health.”

In addition, Hevolution will continue to launch grant programs supporting individual aging researchers, including the Hevolution Foundation Geroscience Research Opportunities (HF-GRO) and Hevolution Foundation Postdoctoral Training in Geroscience (HF-PTG).

HF-GRO is an international effort to accelerate progress in healthy aging research; with an available fund of $115m over five years, the scheme will provide up to $25m in new grants in 2024 to fund projects in Aging Biology or Geroscience.

HF-PTG has a total investment of $5m over four years and is a pilot program aimed to identify accomplished PhD and MD/PhD students interested in pursuing postdoctoral training in biology of aging and/or geroscience, with the goal of ultimately growing and diversifying the number of researchers in the aging space.

“These grants are a significant milestone for Hevolution Foundation,” says Dr Felipe Sierra, Chief Scientific Officer at Hevolution Foundation. “Hevolution’s investments in basic aging research and geroscience advance our mission to extend healthy human lifespan, by promoting the generation of further knowledge into these growing disciplines. By funding the work of both young and seasoned researchers, we will deepen our collective understanding of the aging process and its role in retaining health into old age.”

Also part of the announcement package is Hevolution Foundation Geroscience in Latin America (HF-GLA). HF-GLA is a pilot initiative that will launch in early July, providing up to $5m over four years for projects in Aging Biology or Geroscience to independent investigators with laboratories conducting biomedical research in Latin America.

Longevity.Technology asked Dr Khan what had catalyzed the focus on Latin America at this time; he told us that Hevolution wants to start to support scientists that will not only get interested in geroscience, but choose to make their research career in this space.

“In many of these developing countries, there isn’t that funding available, nor sufficient funding in particular for young early stage scientists,” he told us. “We looked across the world, and while we’ve launched already in North America and Europe and are in discussions in Singapore, we wanted to consider the developing countries. Latin America has some pools of work that have been going on for a while and had shown interest in We wanted to give them the catalyst, and we are also potentially looking at other continents as well – there are scientists there that we have relationships with that showed a lot of interest, and we said: ‘Let’s give it a try!’ We want to have as many as possible, but the most important thing is to identify the best minds, no matter where they are in the world.”