September 18, 2020 at 11:24AM
Sergey Young plans to live to the age of 200. And he’s not the first. Wellness is buzzing with the kinds of bio-hacks and breakthroughs that have health researchers like Sergey and the likes of Bulletproof’s Dave Asprey planning on a longer lifespan than many of us ever dreamed.
As a longevity investor, meaning he invests in the kind of technologies designed to extend the quality and quantity of our lives, Sergey is on the cutting edge of many fascinating and, frankly, mind-boggling medical technologies.
We asked Sergey to talk to us about the top tech in each of the three longevity “horizons”, which he breaks down below. His mission? To help one billion people extend their healthy lifespans by making longevity affordable and accessible. The Longevity Vision Fund is his personal passion project, built to fund and accelerate life extension breakthroughs and to make them affordable and accessible to all. Sergey is one of few investors in the category globally and some of his investments might surprise you…
The 3 Horizons of Longevity
The three horizons of longevity provide a ‘map’ of breakthrough longevity innovations that Sergey and team use as a model:
Horizon 1 – technology already available that has the potential to expand our lifespans to 100 years.
Horizon 2 – technology available over the next 5-10 years with the potential to expand our lifespans to 150 years.
Horizon 3 – technology available over the next 10-20 years with the potential to expand our lifespans to 200 years.
AI-based early diagnostics and disease detection
Studies of autopsies suggest doctors misdiagnose fatal illnesses around 20% of the time,
including diagnoses that were simply delayed.
Artificial Intelligence is helping doctors make earlier and more accurate diagnoses. Early
diagnostics are crucial, as they can mean recovery rates of over 90% from certain types of
AI is also helping doctors to save time during diagnostics, which can enable more patients to
be seen. For example, it takes just 4 seconds to analyze a patient’s heart function on a cardiac MRI scan using AI, while a human doctor without AI requires 13 minutes on average.
Freenome, a Longevity Vision Fund portfolio company, is working on early non-invasive
diagnostics of colon cancer using blood tests. It has demonstrated 100% sensitivity (the
ability to correctly classify an individual as ′diseased′) for colorectal cancer testing using its
multiomics platform, whereas the current standard test (fecal immunochemical test) only
achieved 67% sensitivity.
Doctors using Google’s AI tool LYNA are better at detecting advanced breast cancer (99%
accuracy) than human doctors alone (as low as 38% accuracy) – even when looking for
extremely small metastases human pathologists might miss.
About 60% of consumers agree that wearables put them in control of their health and lead to
Growing adoption of wearables at relatively accessible prices and advanced functions
resulted in the development of a whole new area of preventive healthcare.
AppleWatch can save lives by monitoring your heart health via an ECG or calling an
ambulance if it registers a hard fall.
FitBit can help manage stress by tracking your HRV (heart rate variability) and reminding
you to take a break and walk around every hour
Amazon’s new health & wellness band HaloBand can help control your weight by
measuring your body fat percentage using a 3D body scan, which is considered ‘a better
indicator of health than weight or BMI alone’
Telemedicine allows caring for patients remotely via video conference tools. It is helping to
bridge the gap between people and doctors across different geographies and income levels,
and facilitates access to healthcare for people who are symptomatic or disabled.
Coronavirus has accelerated the adoption of telemedicine by helping to reduce the spread
of the virus and protect medical staff. Hospitals are quickly adopting telehealth to treat
quarantined patients. At the onset of the pandemic, The White House even lifted Medicare
telemedicine restrictions, allowing more providers to accept Medicare payments for virtual
Teladoc Health, now used by more than 40% of Fortune 500 employers, is becoming a
crucial feature in corporate health & wellness programs at companies such as Accenture.
Microsoft Teams enables telemedicine by providing secure collaboration solutions via
chat, voice, and video between medical professionals in a single hub that supports key
compliance requirements (in addition to remote appointments with patients).
Health supplements can now be customized according to your dietary needs, beliefs, and
preferences with the help of companies offering 3D-printing technology, online
subscriptions, and online quizzes to tailor the pills you take.
Not only can the nutritional content of pills be personalized, but so can the time when each
component is released. For example, people who skip breakfast as part of their intermittent
fasting routine and go to bed early can design a capsule that delivers some caffeine and
essential nutrients in the morning, and a blend of relaxing and sleep-promoting herbs in the
Multiply Labs uses 3D-printing technology to personalize not only the nutritional content
of the pills, but also the time when each component is released.
The time-release factor is achieved by 3D-printing a capsule with separate compartments of
varying thickness. For example, a compartment with a thin wall might release the product
within 30 minutes, while another thicker compartment in the same capsule, but is capable of
containing the supplement for at least two hours.
Nourish3d is another 3D supplement-printing company, which provides customizable
vegan, sugar-free, made-to-order “stacks” (that look and taste like fruit gummies) on a
flexible subscription basis and with delivery to home and work addresses.
Bioniq starts you off with a comprehensive blood assessment that not only assesses your
nutritional requirements to build your personalized daily vitamin formula. Monthly
blood tests allow to modify nutritional content of your pack to satisfy your body’s changing
AI in drug discovery
The development of a new drug is estimated at $2.6B. A lot of that money is effectively
wasted, as it is spent on the 9 out of 10 candidate therapies that fail somewhere between
phase I trials and regulatory approval.
Artificial intelligence is transforming drug discovery, making the search for new
pharmaceuticals quicker, cheaper and more effective.
Insilico Medicine, a Longevity Vision Fund portfolio company specializing in AI-based
drug discovery, is capable of designing, synthesizing and identifying a new drug target in just 46 days – in comparison to 2-3 years typically required using big pharma’s standard
approach without the support of this technology.
Insilico Medicine also demonstrated its ability to identify thousands of new molecules
targeting the key coronavirus protein in just 4 days, which could serve as potential
Schrodinger is another drug discovery company that is helping to advance COVID-19 drug
discovery efforts. In has partnered with Google Cloud, which is giving Schrödinger access
to its powerful computing capacity to accelerate discovery for its commercial partners and its
Gene therapy and editing
Gene therapies alter an organism’s DNA by allowing therapeutic genetic material to be
added, altered or removed. Given the abundance of diseases where improper functioning of
genes plays an important role, gene therapy is a game changer and has already proved to be
Novartis is one of the companies pioneering gene therapy space. Its Zolgensma is one of the
first gene therapies to be approved and is the first and only gene therapy for children with
spinal muscular atrophy. Zolgensma was approved in 2019 and is already helping to save
4DMT (another Longevity Vision Fund portfolio company) is a gene therapy company
developing next-generation gene therapies, more safe and effective. It is using ‘directed
evolution’ technology – a method, which mimics the process of natural selection towards a
certain goal, without waiting for random variations to occur over thousands of generations.
Cell therapy is a treatment where viable cells are injected or implanted into the patient’s
body to achieve a therapeutic effect – for example, by transplanting immune cells capable of
fighting cancer cells or grafting stem cells to regenerate diseased tissues.
Approved therapies include Kymriah (by Novartis) and Yescarta (by Gilead), which help
treat hematologic cancers in children.
Sigilon Therapeutics (a Longevity Vision Fund portfolio company) develops an
encapsulated cell therapy platform based on a new class of therapeutics.
It can produce a wide range of proteins to treat serious chronic disorders in a durable,
controllable, and safe way without generating immune rejection or fibrosis.
Replaceable body parts
The need for human organs far outpaces their availability, with more than 20 people dying
each day awaiting a transplant. There are over 110,000 people on waiting lists in the U.S
LyGenesis (a Longevity Vision Fund portfolio company) aims to disrupt transplantation
markets by using patients’ own lymph nodes as bioreactors to grow ‘mini-organs’ that
support or replace diseased originals – without the risk of immune rejection.
LyGenesis is currently focusing on liver tissue regeneration but aims to expand into other
fields in the future. Its technology was proven safe and effective in animal studies.
EGenesis is a biotech company that uses gene editing to make transplantation of organs from
pigs into humans safe and effective. Currently the company is focusing on gene editing life-
saving kidney transplants for humans.
Researchers in Tokyo, led by inventor Susumu Tachi, have developed a prototype
“telexistence” humanoid robot that can be controlled by a user wearing a virtual reality head-
mounted display and haptic (kinaesthetic) feedback gloves.
The user can see and feel what the robot senses (including tactile and thermal sensations, as
well as a realistic audio-visual representation), also allowing him or her to make changes to
the robot’s environment.
Telexistence – the company led by Dr Tachi that developed this technology – describes this
technology as a concept of “using a remote robot… to release humans from space-time
Meltin is another company that develops Cyborg Technology. Its unique bio-signal
processing algorithm allows for highly accurate real-time analyses of human movements.
For example, it can process 12 types of complex movements and is able to distinguish
between direct (e.g. bending fingers), adjacent (e.g. twisting the wrist) and composite
muscle movements (e.g. “bending fingers while twisting the wrist”) – allowing intuitive and
highly accurate control of cyborgs in a way that requires no special training.
University of Delaware scientists have recently discovered a ground-breaking bio-synthetic
material that they claim can be used to merge artificial intelligence with the human brain
and to solve the issue of scarring, which is the case if ‘traditional’ materials like gold,
silicon and steel are implanted (which damages the signal).
Neuralink, founded by Elon Musk, aims to place high-speed computing systems inside
human brains so we can control computers and smartphones using our thoughts.
The company developed a chip containing an array of up to 96 small polymer threads that
can be implanted into the brain via robot and a 2mm incision. Neuralink has already
implanted chips in rats, with the goal to test the brain-machine interface in humans within
Once implanted, the chip would connect wirelessly to other devices. In the words of Musk,
the chip is “basically Bluetooth to your phone”.
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