Posted on Aug 16, 2017, 6 a.m.
He and close associates with some of the best connections in biotech are launching a new company - with plans to make a big splash in anti-aging research.
Billionaire Jim Mellon and his close associates have invested in a new joint venture that will lay the foundation for future anti aging research. With big connections in the biotech field, the new company named Juvenescence has big plans to increase human longevity. The hope is that combining artificial intelligence in the development of new drugs will pave the way for treatments to counter the negative effects of aging. This is one of the largest deals in this field of research but in order for success, repetitive financing in the millions is required for the project.
Accelerating Anti-Aging Research with Artificial Intelligence
CEO of Juvenescence Greg Bailey was an early backer of the biotech company Medivation, which was sold to Pfizer for $14 billion. Former Pfizer exec Declan Doogan will join the new venture alongside Bailey and Mellon. The game plan at Juvenescence is to develop new drugs for the treatment of aging. Another joint venture is Juvenescence AI setup by Mellon and scientist Alex Zhavoronkov, and they believe the AI technology Zhavoronkov developed will give the anti-aging project a better chance of success.
Zhavoronkov is an advocate for the use of artificial intelligence in drug research and is making alliances with some major pharmaceutical companies. They have raised $7 million in the new AI technology already. Robust AI computers will be needed to identify particular molecules in cells with specific properties. The data churned out by the computers will help the researchers understand cellular pathways and how to change the heart of cells (the mitochondria) to slow down or stop aging. Also, as we grow older senescent cells (cells that cease to divide) accumulate and a method is needed to clean away these cells as they contribute to the aging process.
Healthy Aging is the Key to Longevity
Investors have seeded millions of dollars into the project but as much as $50 million is expected to be raised by wealthy family and friends of Mellon, Bailey, and Doogan. The team plans to recruit individuals whose responsibility is to manage specific projects with a staff of 10 or fewer people. Small biotech companies like these rely on significant outsourcing of work. However, they will also cover broader fields such as conventional drug development, diagnostics, and ideas on engaging the end consumer.
According to Doogan, the key to longevity is healthy aging — to live a longer, healthier life is the objective. Greg Bailey notes that focusing on age-related diseases like Osteoarthritis or the drug Everolimus which helps inhibit cell growth can be used as models as they begin work. Anti-aging research is still in its early days but billionaire Jim Mellon says it's now time to invest in longevity as it is certain to grow into the world's most lucrative industry.