Interviews of 2023: the longevity companies

Six of our favourite interviews with companies operating at the cutting edge of longevity science.

From cellular reprogramming and SIRT6 to young blood and telomere boosting therapies, there are many different approaches being pursued by longevity companies. And we’ve spoken to them all. Here are some of our favourite interviews from the past year.

Retro: A longevity biotech triple-threat?

Retro: A longevity biotech triple-threat?

Retro Biosciences was founded in 2021 to develop cellular reprogramming, autophagy and plasma-inspired therapeutics, with the goal of increasing healthy human lifespan by 10 years. Earlier this year it was revealed that its $180 million funding was provided by Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI.

Speaking about Retro’s multi-pronged approach, founder Joe Betts-LaCroix, told us “As a student of aging biology and having looked at hundreds of papers on the topic over the years, it’s clear to me there are multiple things going on in parallel. And anybody who stands up and says the cause of aging is negative factors of blood or telomeres, or histological entropy caused by a genetic noise or whatever is probably a salesman.”

SIRTLab: Does SIRT6 hold the key to human longevity?

Does SIRT6 hold the key to human longevity?

The SIRT6 protein has been shown to regulate several critical cellular pathways, including glucose metabolism, DNA repair and inflammation – all of which play key roles in aging and longevity. Founded by one of the world’s leading authorities on SIRT6, SIRTLab emerged this year to develop therapeutics with longevity-boosting potential.

To learn more about SIRTLab’s longevity-first approach, we spoke to CEO Boaz Misholi, who told us, “We have many potential indications to consider. We have demonstrated that we can treat mice with fatty liver disease, and within three weeks we have reversed it – the liver has become totally healthy. In our mouse studies, we found that increasing the level of SIRT6 in the liver alone had a very strong impact on the activity on the energy level of and the overall health of the mice.”

Rejuvenation Technologies: Telomere-boosting mRNA therapeutic

Rejuvenation Technologies exits stealth with $10.6m for age-reversing mRNA therapeutics

Rejuvenation Technologies has developed a synthetic mRNA-based approach to restoring telomeres to a “healthy length” – capable of reversing a decade of telomere shortening in a single dose. Following positive preclinical results in lung and liver disease indications, the company is now preparing the path towards its first in-human trials.

To learn more about how Rejuvenation is targeting telomeres and longevity, we caught up with co-founders Glenn Markov and John Ramunas, who told us, “Ultimately, we envision treating everyone periodically to maintain their telomeres in a healthy length range. Since each dose reverses years of telomere shortening, the treatments could be years apart.”

Yuvan Research: New plasma therapy moves closer to the clinic

Young blood rising: new plasma therapy moves closer to the clinic

Earlier this year, Yuvan Research made headlines around the world by announcing it had broken a world record by extending the lifespan of a lab rat called Sima using an experimental “young blood” plasma therapy called E5. An enriched fraction of young plasma, E5 is designed to be injected regularly to reverse the age of the recipient’s biological systems, bringing them closer to that of the younger donor.

We spoke to Yuvan’s CEO Akshay Sanghavi about the company’s plans to move forward with trials in dogs, who told us, “If we see the same effect in dogs that we saw in the rats, then then we can be optimistic that that may translate in humans. The potential to reverse human aging by 50% on a systemic basis may sound hard to believe, but it also makes what we’re doing very exciting.”

Rejuvenate Bio: Turning aging research into a therapeutic category

‘We’re turning aging research into a therapeutic category’

Rejuvenate Bio emerged from the Harvard lab of renowned geneticist George Church in 2018, with an approach based on the fundamental idea that aging is the single largest risk factor for many chronic conditions. With programs in both human and animal health, the company is developing multiple gene therapies, each with the potential to impact multiple age-related diseases.

To learn more about Rejuvenate’s gene therapy and cellular reprogramming approaches, we caught up with CEO Daniel Oliver, who told us, “We are essentially aiming to turn aging research into a therapeutic category. Our first programs are focused on areas like cardiac and metabolic health, but they utilize factors that have been shown in studies to extend overall lifespan in transgenic animal models.”

Lifeforce: Dialing up human longevity

While the world awaits the development of cutting-edge longevity drugs, many people are already trying to take more proactive control of their health through lifestyle changes, supplements and beyond. Recent years have seen the increasing emergence of clinical providers seeking to support those looking to optimize their health as they age. One of those providers is Lifeforce, which is aiming to “redefine the way we approach preventative healthcare and aging” via a telehealth model.

We caught up with Lifeforce co-founder and CEO Dugal Bain-Kim, who told us, “If you’re a health-motivated person, who wants to stay on the front foot, making sure you are functioning at your best and keeping yourself on the right track, then primary care is not cutting it for you. The incentives aren’t aligned – doctors don’t get paid for practicing effective longevity medicine.”