Targeting cellular senescence is a potential $127B market

A vaccine for aging? New report assesses the investment potential of the emerging senotherapeutics sector, reviews companies working in the field, and examines the potential of targeting cell senescence to treat many major diseases.

Our longevity market intelligence arm today published a new market intelligence report that provides a detailed analysis of the emerging biotech field focused on targeting cellular senescence.

Longevity.Technology: Cellular senescence, the “zombie state” that a cell adopts when it refuses to die, is one of the hallmarks of aging and is heavily linked to chronic inflammation and tissue dysfunction – the blueprint of most chronic diseases.

Senotherapeutics, which target cellular senescence, have the potential to treat diseases by addressing their cause rather than the symptoms, and hold the unique promise of entering several multi-billion-dollar chronic disease markets. 

The report estimates that the combined market value of diseases that could be addressed by senotherapeutics, including macular degeneration, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes and neurodegenerative disease, amounts to more than $127 billion.

Figure 1. The AARP found Americans aged 50 and up contribute so much to the US economy that
they would constitute the world’s third-largest economy if counted as their own country. The economic contributions of 50-plus Americans totalled US$8.3 trillion last year, a figure that could rise to US$28 trillion by 2050 as Millennials and Generation Z begin to turn 50 in 2031 and 2047, respectively. Adapted from (AARP, 2019).

No companies in this new sector have yet reached Phase 3 trials, and most are in preclinical R&D, with some readying for Phase 1 trials. Last year, Unity Biotechnology’s Phase 2 knee osteoarthritis clinical trial failed to meet its primary endpoint, but the company today revealed it has moved its macular degeneration programme to Phase 2a, following positive Phase 1 trial data.

Experts don’t believe Unity’s initial Phase 2 failure diminishes the case for investment in senotherapeutics.


Aubrey de Grey, Chief Science Officer and co-founder of SENS Foundation, told us, “When Unity’s Phase 2 result came out last year, the share price fell through the floor, but it’s recovered half of that already, even though they haven’t announced anything new – the other trials that they’re doing are still ongoing. It tells you very clearly where the smart money is going from the investor community.

“This thorough report from First Longevity’s market intelligence unit provides important insights for the senotherapeutic market and highlights key concepts for potential investors, product developers, market entrants and academics.”

Multiple therapeutic approaches

The report’s authors found that the senotherapeutics field is not yet fully understood by investors, and that it encompasses a range of different therapeutic approaches to targeting senescence. Each method comes with its own opportunities and challenges.

SenoThe report compares senotherapeutic strategies based on criteria including class of senotherapeutic, target specificity, delivery, platform, precision regulation and toxicity. The report also takes an in-depth look at several companies working on senotherapeutics, and includes the results of a survey of experts in the field, including which approaches they believe hold the most promise.

A vaccine for aging?

It is hoped that senotherapeutics hold the potential to break the ‘one drug-one target-one disease’ paradigm.

“Senotherapeutics have the potential to support a new standard of care that could help redefine what we see as ‘old’,” said Phil Newman, founder and CEO, First Longevity. “The burden of an aging population will continue to intensify, but with the correct funding and research in place, senotherapeutics could become the new vaccine for aging.

“The goal of this report is to identify the opportunities for growth in the senotherapeutics market and the factors that will drive that growth, together with the challenges that this early market will encounter as it moves into scale and validation.”

Access the report as a download or subscription HERE and watch our briefing video HERE.

Image courtesy of Erin Ashford