Pe­ter Dia­man­dis' right hand man Sergey Young wants to re­verse ag­ing via his $100M Longevi­ty Vi­sion Fund

In­spired by British bil­lion­aire Jim Mel­lon, chair­man of an­ti-ag­ing up­start biotech ven­ture Ju­ve­nes­cence, Sergey Young un­veiled a $100 mil­lion fund on Mon­day to cat­alyze the de­vel­op­ment of a com­pre­hen­sive so­lu­tion to coun­ter­act the dam­ag­ing con­se­quences of ag­ing.

“I’ve nev­er looked like my age…and with my name, I think it was pre­de­ter­mined that I was go­ing to work in the space (of ag­ing),” Young told End­points News. The 47-year-old con­sid­ers him­self a prod­uct of Pe­ter Dia­man­dis — the man be­hind the non-prof­it XPRIZE and ven­ture cap­i­tal fund BOLD Cap­i­tal Part­ners — and is in charge of all things longevi­ty at both or­ga­ni­za­tions.

Jim Mel­lon

Like Mel­lon, who penned Ju­ve­nes­cence: In­vest­ing in the Age of Longevi­ty pri­or to the launch of the com­pa­ny Ju­ve­nes­cence, Young is in the em­bry­on­ic stage of writ­ing his own book de­signed to de­code the sci­ence of ag­ing for the mass­es. Mean­while, his $100 mil­lion Longevi­ty Vi­sion Fund will back or­ga­ni­za­tions who are work­ing on tech­nol­o­gy to re­verse the ag­ing process and pro­long healthy hu­man life.

“Adding 20 to 30 healthy years on a per­son’s life is like­ly to be the largest mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ty on earth. The con­ver­gence of Genome Se­quenc­ing, AI & Cel­lu­lar Med­i­cine will en­able break­throughs that will make 100 years old the new 60. I’m proud through our BOLD Cap­i­tal part­ner­ship to sup­port Sergey Young and the Longevi­ty Vi­sion Fund,” Pe­ter Dia­man­dis said in a state­ment.

Young did not dis­close the deals his fund is cur­rent­ly ex­plor­ing but laid out the ar­eas he is in­ter­est­ed in pur­su­ing.

Pe­ter Dia­man­dis

“We are cur­rent­ly work­ing on 6 deals…and are look­ing at all the usu­al sus­pects in terms of themes” he said. These ar­eas in­clude ear­ly de­tec­tion of se­ri­ous dis­eases us­ing ul­tra­sound tech­nol­o­gy; ear­ly di­ag­nos­tics for heart, can­cer and neu­rode­gen­er­a­tive dis­eases; stem-cell and mi­cro­bio­me-based ther­a­peu­tics; and big da­ta as well as AI-based ap­pli­ca­tions.

Un­sur­pris­ing­ly, Young is in di­a­logue with Alex Zha­voronkov’s AI shop at In­sil­i­co Med­i­cine. Zha­voronkov has deep con­nec­tions in the R&D space — last year he raised funds at the be­hest of Shang­hai high-fly­er WuXi AppTec, Sin­ga­pore’s Temasek, Pe­ter Dia­man­dis and Ju­ve­nes­cence.

“We do plan to par­tic­i­pate in the next round of fund­ing to be­come a share­hold­er of In­sil­i­co,” Young said. It is a mu­tu­al ap­pre­ci­a­tion so­ci­ety here at the Longevi­ty Lead­ers Con­gress in Lon­don, where Zha­voronkov is heard in­tro­duc­ing Young as a vi­sion­ary fund man­ag­er to a con­fer­ence at­tendee. Young, Zha­voronkov, Mel­lon and a host of oth­ers high-pro­file C-suite reg­u­lars in­volved in ag­ing R&D have flocked to a ho­tel near the renowned St Paul’s Cathe­dral to dis­cuss re­cent de­vel­op­ments in an­ti-ag­ing. In the first keynote pan­el of the day, vice pres­i­dent of Ju­ve­nes­cence-backed AgeX Aubrey de Grey am­bi­tious­ly claims that that longevi­ty space will even­tu­al­ly “dwarf the dot­com boom.”

Alex Zha­voronkov

But more fund­ing is nec­es­sary, Zha­voronkov told End­points News at the con­fer­ence. Oth­er than Google’s an­ti-ag­ing biotech Cal­i­co that has seen a large in­flux of funds, the field of an­ti-ag­ing is ripe for in­vest­ment, he said.

For long-time in­vestor and ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist Young, who has in­sight in­to the ag­ing R&D ef­fort with­in the US and to a less­er ex­tent in the UK, Chi­na and In­dia’s siz­able pop­u­la­tions pose com­pelling prospects for deals for his fund.

“In the next decade, ad­vance­ments will al­low us to be a lot more pre­dic­tive and pre­ven­ta­tive in the most dam­ag­ing dis­eases,” he said. “I’m think­ing AI-en­abled med­i­cine will em­pow­er doc­tors…tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances to im­prove sleep­ing and med­i­ta­tion will emerge — and these are an es­sen­tial part of a healthy, long life, along with a plant-based di­et.”


Im­age: Sergey Young. LONGEVI­TY VI­SION FUND

Nick Leschly via Getty

UP­DAT­ED: Blue­bird shares sink as an­a­lysts puz­zle out $1.8M stick­er shock and an un­ex­pect­ed de­lay

Blue­bird bio $BLUE has un­veiled its price for the new­ly ap­proved gene ther­a­py Zyn­te­glo (Lenti­Glo­bin), which came as a big sur­prise. And it wasn’t the on­ly un­ex­pect­ed twist in to­day’s sto­ry.

With some an­a­lysts bet­ting on a $900,000 price for the β-tha­lassemia treat­ment in Eu­rope, where reg­u­la­tors pro­vid­ed a con­di­tion­al ear­ly OK, blue­bird CEO Nick Leschly said Fri­day morn­ing that the pa­tients who are suc­cess­ful­ly treat­ed with their drug over 5 years will be charged twice that — $1.8 mil­lion — on the con­ti­nent. That makes this drug the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive ther­a­py on the plan­et, just be­hind No­var­tis’ new­ly ap­proved Zol­gens­ma at $2.1 mil­lion, with an­a­lysts still wait­ing to see what kind of pre­mi­um can be had in the US.

Neil Woodford, Woodford Investment Management via YouTube

Un­der siege, in­vest­ment man­ag­er Wood­ford faces an­oth­er in­vest­ment shock

Em­bat­tled UK fund man­ag­er Neil Wood­ford — who has con­tro­ver­sial­ly blocked in­vestors from pulling out from his flag­ship fund to stem the blood­let­ting, af­ter a slew of dis­ap­point­ed in­vestors fled fol­low­ing a se­ries of sour bets — is now pay­ing the price for his ac­tions via an in­vestor ex­o­dus on an­oth­er fund.

Har­g­reaves Lans­down, which has in the past sold and pro­mot­ed the Wood­ford funds via its re­tail in­vest­ment plat­form, has re­port­ed­ly with­drawn £45 mil­lion — its en­tire po­si­tion — from the in­vest­ment man­ag­er’s In­come Fo­cus Fund.

Ted Love. HAVERFORD COLLEGE

Glob­al Blood Ther­a­peu­tics poised to sub­mit ap­pli­ca­tion for ac­cel­er­at­ed ap­proval, with new piv­otal da­ta on its sick­le cell dis­ease drug

Global Blood Therapeutics is set to submit an application for accelerated approval in the second-half of this year, after unveiling fresh data from a late-stage trial that showed just over half the patients given the highest dose of its experimental sickle cell disease drug experienced a statistically significant improvement in oxygen-wielding hemoglobin, meeting the study's main goal.

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Bain’s biotech team has cre­at­ed a $1B-plus fund — with an eye to more Big Phar­ma spin­outs

One of the biggest investors to burst onto the biotech scene in recent years has re-upped with more than a billion dollars flowing into its second fund. And this next wave of bets will likely include more of the Big Pharma spinouts that highlighted their first 3 years in action.

Adam Koppel and Jeff Schwartz got the new life sciences fund at Bain Capital into gear in the spring of 2016, as they were putting together a $720 million fund with $600 million flowing in from external investors and the rest drawn from the Bain side of the equation. This time the external investors chipped in $900 million, with Bain coming in for roughly $180 million more.

They’re not done with Fund I, with plans to add a couple more deals to the 15 they’ve already posted. And once again, they’re estimating another 15 to 20 investments over a 3- to 5-year time horizon for Fund II.

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News­mak­ers at #EHA19: Re­gen­eron, Ar­Qule track progress on re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s close­ly-watched bis­pe­cif­ic con­tin­ues to ring up high re­sponse rates

Re­gen­eron’s high-pro­file bis­pe­cif­ic REGN1979 is back in the spot­light at the Eu­ro­pean Hema­tol­ogy As­so­ci­a­tion sci­en­tif­ic con­fab. And while the stel­lar num­bers we saw at ASH have erod­ed some­what as more blood can­cer pa­tients are eval­u­at­ed, the re­sponse rates for this CD3/CD20 drug re­main high.

A to­tal of 13 out of 14 fol­lic­u­lar lym­phomas re­spond­ed to the drug, a 93% ORR, down from 100% at the last read­out. In 10 out of 14, there was a com­plete re­sponse. In dif­fuse large B-cell lym­phoma the re­sponse rate was 57% among pa­tients treat­ed at the 80 mg to 160 mg dose range. They were all com­plete re­spons­es. And 2 of these Cars were for pa­tients who had failed CAR-T ther­a­py.

Turns out, Rudy Tanzi did­n't see much of a sto­ry about a hid­den link be­tween En­brel and Alzheimer's ei­ther

The Wash­ing­ton Post man­aged to whip up the quick­est in­dus­try con­sen­sus I’ve ever seen that one of its re­porters was pur­vey­ing overblown non­sense with a sto­ry that Pfiz­er was sit­ting on da­ta sug­gest­ing that En­brel could be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for Alzheimer’s. 

In cov­er­ing that bit of an­ti-Big Phar­ma fan­ta­sy — there are lots of rea­sons to go af­ter phar­ma, but this piece was lu­di­crous — I not­ed com­ments in the sto­ry from some promi­nent peo­ple in the field crit­i­ciz­ing Pfiz­er for not pub­lish­ing the da­ta. I sin­gled out Rudy Tanzi at Har­vard and then ap­plied some added crit­i­cism for the things he’s done to hype — in my opin­ion — high­ly ques­tion­able as­sump­tions. You can see it in the link. 

Gene ther­a­pies seize the top of the list of the most ex­pen­sive drugs on the plan­et — and that trend has just be­gun

Anyone looking for a few simple reasons why the gene therapy field has caught fire with the pharma giants need only look at the new list of the 10 most expensive therapies from GoodRx.

Two recently approved gene therapies sit atop this list, with Novartis’ Zolgensma crowned the king of the priciest drugs at $2.1 million. Right below is Luxturna, the $850,000 pioneer from Spark, which Roche is pushing hard to acquire as it adds a gene therapy group to the global mix.

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Adding mar­quee in­vestors, Black­Thorn bags $76M to back an AI-dri­ven strat­e­gy for pre­ci­sion neu­ro med­i­cine

As ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and ma­chine learn­ing loom ever larg­er in drug dis­cov­ery and de­vel­op­ment, a biotech op­er­at­ing at the “nexus” of tech­nol­o­gy and neu­ro­sciences has cashed in with $76 mil­lion in fresh fi­nanc­ing.

The big idea at Black­Thorn Ther­a­peu­tics is to do for neu­robe­hav­ioral dis­or­ders what ge­net­i­cal­ly tar­get­ed ther­a­py has done for on­col­o­gy: Re­de­fine pa­tient pop­u­la­tions by the un­der­ly­ing bi­ol­o­gy — dys­reg­u­lat­ed brain cir­cuits, or neu­rotypes — in­stead of symp­toms, there­by find­ing the pa­tients who are most like­ly to ben­e­fit at en­roll­ment phase.

J&J gains an en­thu­si­as­tic en­dorse­ment from Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for their big new drug Spra­va­to

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has lit­tle love for Big Phar­ma, but there’s at least one new drug that just hit the mar­ket which he is en­am­ored with.

Trump, ev­i­dent­ly, has been read­ing up on J&J’s new an­ti-de­pres­sion drug, Spra­va­to. And the pres­i­dent — who of­ten likes to break out in­to a full-throat­ed at­tack on greedy drug­mak­ers — ap­par­ent­ly en­thused about the ther­a­py in a meet­ing with of­fi­cials of Vet­er­ans Af­fairs, which has long grap­pled with de­pres­sion among vet­er­ans.