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

2023 Spot­light on the Fu­ture of Drug De­vel­op­ment for Small and Mid-Sized Biotechs

In the context of today’s global economic environment, there is an increasing need to work smarter, faster and leaner across all facets of the life sciences industry.  This is particularly true for small and mid-sized biotech companies, many of which are facing declining valuations and competing for increasingly limited funding to propel their science forward.  It is important to recognize that within this framework, many of these smaller companies already find themselves resource-challenged to design and manage clinical studies themselves because they don’t have large teams or in-house experts in navigating the various aspects of the drug development journey. This can be particularly challenging for the most complex and difficult to treat diseases where no previous pathway exists and patients are urgently awaiting breakthroughs.

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Ver­tex just found the next big ‘trans­for­ma­tive’ thing for the pipeline — at a biotech just down the street

Back in the summer of 2019, when I was covering Vertex’s executive chairman Jeff Leiden’s plans for the pipeline, I picked up on a distinct focus on myotonic dystrophy Type I, or DM1 — one of what Leiden called “two diseases (with DMD) we’re interested in and we continue to look for those assets.”

Today, Leiden’s successor at the helm of Vertex, CEO Reshma Kewalramani, is plunking down $250 million in cash to go the extra mile on DM1. The lion’s share of that is for the upfront, with a small reserve for equity in a deal that lines Vertex up with a neighbor in Seaport that has been rather quietly going at both of Vertex’s early disease targets with preclinical assets.

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WIB22: Am­ber Salz­man had few op­tions when her son was di­ag­nosed with a rare ge­net­ic dis­ease. So she cre­at­ed a bet­ter one

This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

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She was meeting with Patrick Aubourg, a French neurologist studying adrenoleukodystrophy, or ALD, a rare genetic condition that causes rapid neurological decline in young boys. It’s a sinister disease that often leads to disability or death within just a few years. Salzman’s nephew was diagnosed at just 6 or 7 years old, and died at the age of 12.

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This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

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This profile is part of Endpoints News’ 2022 special report about Women in Biopharma R&D. You can read the full report here.

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Christian Itin, Autolus CEO (UKBIO19)

Au­to­lus tips its hand, bags $220M as CAR-T show­down with Gilead looms

The first batch of pivotal data on Autolus Therapeutics’ CAR-T is in, and execs are ready to plot a path to market.

With an overall remission rate of 70% at the interim analysis featuring 50 patients, the results set the stage for a BLA filing by the end of 2023, said CEO Christian Itin.

Perhaps more importantly — given that Autolus’ drug, obe-cel, is going after an indication that Gilead’s Tecartus is already approved for — the biotech highlighted “encouraging safety data” in the trial, with a low percentage of patients experiencing severe immune responses.

Ahead of ad­comm, FDA rais­es un­cer­tain­ties on ben­e­fit-risk pro­file of Cy­to­ki­net­ic­s' po­ten­tial heart drug

The FDA’s Cardiovascular and Renal Drugs Advisory Committee will meet next Tuesday to discuss whether Cytokinetics’ potential heart drug can safely reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and heart failure in patients with symptomatic chronic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.

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Add AbbVie to the list of pharma companies currently facing age discrimination allegations.

Pennsylvania resident Thomas Hesch filed suit against AbbVie on Wednesday, accusing the company of passing him over for promotions in favor of younger candidates.

Despite 30 years of pharma experience, “Hesch has consistently seen younger, less qualified employees promoted over him,” the complaint states.

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Up­dat­ed: Gilead, Ar­cel­lx team up on an­ti-BC­MA CAR-T as biotech touts a 100% re­sponse rate at #ASH22

Gilead and Kite are plunking down big cash to get into the anti-BCMA CAR-T game.

The pair will shell out $225 million in cash upfront and $100 million in equity to Arcellx, Kite announced Friday morning, to develop the biotech’s lead CAR-T program together. Kite will handle commercialization and co-development with Arcellx, and profits in the US will be split 50-50.

Concurrent with the deal, Arcellx revealed its latest cut of data for the program known as CART-ddBCMA, ahead of a full presentation at this weekend’s ASH conference — a 100% response rate among patients getting the therapy. Investors jumped at the dual announcements, sending Arcellx shares $ACLX up more than 25% in Friday’s morning session.

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