During the Longevity Investors Conference (LIC), held in the exclusive location of Gstaad in Switzerland, we've had the opportunity to talk to some of the key opinion leaders in the industry. In this rapid fire question mini series, you can get some insights into the current longevity trends, investment advice, as well as hear where the industry is going.
Dr Aubrey de Grey spoke at the Longevity Investors Conference, where he gave a speech on rejuvenation biotechnology as well as was a part of a panel discussing where crypto meets longevity. Keep reading for some additional thoughts from the Godfather of Longevity.
Where do you see the biggest areas for improvement in the longevity field? What's holding them back?
The field is moving so fast now that any answer will probably be out of date within a year, but at this point I think the main limitation is the talent that makes teams complete - makes them tick all the boxes for an investor. There are still far too many great ideas out there in the hands of academics who are just not natural entrepreneurs, so I spend a lot of my time finding people with a business background to partner with them. Also, there are still not nearly enough top-flight young scientists choosing longevity as a field and joining labs or startups where they can make a difference. I've been highly active in both these areas in the past year, enabling a big expansion of the education program at the Buck Institute and also inspiring and funding the incredible retreat "LessDeath" a month or two ago, and they will continue to be high priorities for me.
What, in your opinion, is the current biggest trend in longevity – and what's set to explode?
What constitutes a big trend differs greatly depending on one's perspective, of course, but from the point of view of the Longevity Investors Conference delegates I think the biggest trend is diversity and synergy. Damage repair is inherently a divide-and-conquer strategy, in which big results will only be seen when multiple therapies are given to the same people at the same time. Therefore, I believe that the smart money needs to go to those who are creating the framework for that - the venture funds and holding companies whose portfolio has the potential to deliver truly transformational combination therapies. As for what's set to explode, well, let me be a bit radical here and highlight cryonics. Cryonics has had an even harder time than damage repair in being understood as a valid and promising medical research area, but we now have a very rapid growth in new players in that space, including providers like Tomorrow Biostasis and research outfits like Lorentz Bio, led by highly credentialed people in terms of both biomedical and commercial expertise. The further we progress in developing rejuvenation biotech that really works, the more the world will want to take that bridge to the future.