As the aging population swells over the next 20 to 30 years, more research and funding is being directed into scientific discovery aimed at boosting longevity and healthspan. A British company, Genflow Bioscience Ltd., backed by billionaire investor Jim Mellon, will unveil its plans today for a London Stock Exchange debut – the first European longevity biotech to prepare a listing.
According to a recent article in The Telegraph, Genflow will use funds to continue work on developing a product based on a variant of the Sirtuin 6 gene found in centenarians believed to be able to repair DNA damage. The gene is also thought to boost genes and extend an individual’s life by up to a quarter, based on pre-clinical studies.
Phase I of clinical trials is expected to begin over the next two years. Mellon has also created the company Juvenescence to focus research on science that will help people live longer and in good health. Other tech leaders including Jeff Bezos, Peter Thiel, and Larry Page have also invested in longevity biotech companies.
Chief Executive of Genflow, Dr. Eric Leire, told The Telegraph he expects to see major breakthroughs in longevity products and therapies that will become mainstream. Already, many people working in the field are taking treatments such as Metformin, a medication prescribed for diabetes, to help halt or delay the aging process.
According to a recent Pharmaceutical Technology Analysis article, the global anti-aging market is predicted to skyrocket by 2030, with wealthy investors funding age-reversal research. Although there are many obstacles to overcome, and likely decades of study are needed, age reversal in humans has great potential.
Critics of anti-aging research say that longer lifespans could potentially place a greater burden on the planet due to over-population and influence climate change. Funding a longer older age is also a concern for governments and family caregivers already stretched to provide care for elderly adults. Research aimed at increasing longevity will also need to address increasing life expectancy along with good health and tackle the chronic diseases such as dementia that affect older adults.