Longevity on the rise

First networking club in Asia dedicated to longevity aims to bridge the gap between cutting-edge longevity science and the community.

Rise Longevity Club is a newly established platform that aims to champion and nurture longevity. By promoting longevity-focused entrepreneurs, supporting groundbreaking research and fostering educational initiatives, Rise Longevity is taking longevity mainstream, embedding it at the heart of wellness, biotech and healthcare sectors in Hong Kong.

But its outlook is even wider; as a platform with advocacy at the heart of its mission, Rise Longevity is dedicated to creating partnerships that can innovate and drive the space, both in Asia and worldwide. The first – and, so far, only – club in Hong Kong and Asia in general that exists to bridge the gap between cutting-edge longevity science and the Hong Kong community, Rise Longevity’s unwavering commitment to cooperation and collaboration is paving the way for a brighter and healthier future for all.

Longevity.Technology: This week, Rise Longevity holds its launch ceremony at the prestigious Hong Kong Jockey Club. Cofounders scientific entrepreneur Dr Christine HUANG Yuan and recruitment founder and businesswoman Elena Liapounova will present their vision of a community hub for individuals interested in exploring the frontiers of longevity, extending the human lifespan and improving the quality of life as we age.

The launch event boasts sponsorship from some of the biggest names in longevity – BioAge Labs, Retro Bio and LongeVC – proof that interest in the longevity space in Asia is accelerating. The speaker list so far is impressive, too Kristen Fortney the CEO of BioAge Labs, Joe Betts-Lacroix, the CEO of Retro Biosciences, Sergey Jakimov, Managing Partner at LongeVC and Guanhua Chen, Chair Professor in HKU’s Department of Chemistry and cofounder of X-Tech Startup Platform.

We sat down with Rise Longevity Club’s cofounders to find out more about their innovative platform and their plans for the future.

Given that Rise Longevity seeks to build bridges, it is no surprise that community and collaboration are two of its key pillars.

Longevity on the rise
Rise Longevity Cofounders Dr Christine HUANG Yuan (L) and Elena Liapounova (R)

“Fostering collaboration is important for the longevity field because it’s a relatively new industry and like any nascent industry, there are hurdles,” explains Elena Liapounova.

“Skepticism is one. We must champion evidence-based dialogues, showcasing tangible results and breakthroughs in the field.

She says that history shows that the most significant innovations often developed from constraints. “It’s not just about financial capital but intellectual and collaborative capital – building networks, fostering interdisciplinary collaborations, and sharing knowledge.”

Christine HUANG Yuan agrees. “In a field that’s redefining life’s very essence, setbacks are inevitable,” she says. “By working together, individuals and groups can navigate challenges, seize opportunities, and create a lasting impact that endures beyond the efforts of any single individual.” She adds that, in addition, collaboration can bring together individuals with diverse skills and expertise, helping to spark their creativity, and moving innovation and progress forward.

While longevity has been taking off globally, things move at different tempos in different locations, and the cofounders feel Hong Kong was slower to catch on to the opportunities in the healthy aging space. Liapounova, who has over a decade working on Wall Street, explains that Hong Kong has historically been a major financial hub which has focused mostly on industries like finance, real estate and trade.

“These sectors have been dominant, leaving less attention and investment for emerging industries like technology, biotechnology, and longevity,” she says.

Hong Kong’s culture of a strong emphasis on family and traditional values and family has also played a part, as HUANG Yuan explains.

“While longevity might be seen as positive and wellness is the lifestyle culture for Chinese (their practice of Tai Chi, for example), the idea of actively pursuing cutting-edge antiaging technologies or interventions might not align with these values for some individuals. Even with thousands of years of wellness practice and spirituality, the longevity technology industry itself is relatively new, and there might be a lack of awareness and understanding about the potential benefits and risks associated with various longevity breakthroughs.”

This circles back to Rise Longevity’s Club of bridging the gap; the cofounders feel that club will be able to educate the Hong Kong community about what longevity is and about what is happening globally in the industry. It also ties in to a sea change in policy as the Hong Kong government focuses on prevention, rather than cure, investing more into healthcare and creating an R&D infrastructure to help the growth in the life sciences industry.

“As the window to mainland China, there is a potential for a change in the future as more people become aware of the possibilities and benefits associated with longevity-related advancements,” says Liapounova. “We believe that since industry is growing globally, Hong Kong might face competition from other countries and will have to strategically invest and support the development of longevity technologies. This is exactly why we think that launching a Rise Longevity Club might be the first step towards joining the global longevity movement.”

Benefits from cooperation and collaboration are mutual, and HUANG Yuan believes that bridging the gap between the scientific community and the public nurtures a well-informed, engaged and scientifically literate society.

“This synergy between scientists and the public contributes to better decision-making, improved ethical research practices, and progress as a whole,” she explains. “Building public trust in science is very important for the credibility and effectiveness of research.”
Liapounova agrees, adding that open communication and transparency help to combat misinformation and skepticism.

“This fosters a stronger bond between scientists and the public, as when the public understands scientific concepts and its findings, they can make more informed decisions about their health and daily lives.”

Post-launch, the Rise Longevity Club is planning to facilitate in-person networking events in conjunction with major investment banks in Hong Kong; speakers from all over the world will be invited, helping the Club to help us raise awareness about the longevity field – and potentially attract new investors and visionaries into the field by doing so.

There are also collaborations with major pharmaceutical companies planned with the aim of bringing significant tech startups into Hong Kong to create an ecosystem that fosters collaboration and sharing knowledge about longevity interventions.

Find out more about Rise Longevity Club and its launch event – CLICK HERE.

Photographs courtesy of Christine HUANG Yuan and Elena Liapounova