Aging. It happens to us all but some of us are trying to slow it down as much as possible. This has created a very lucrative industry filled with anti-aging products from creams to gels, cosmetic procedures, and even products to help us internally lengthen our lifespans.
Postponing aging has become more and more common and big companies are noticing that there could be a massive pay off in the arena. Three people who have noticed the opportunity are Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, PayPal’s co-founder, Peter Thiel, and Oracle’s co-founder Larry Ellison.
Both Bezos and Thiel have invested in South San Francisco-based Unity Biotechnology (NASDAQ:UBX), a company who wants to “extend human healthspan, the period in one’s life unburdened by the disease of aging.”
Unity Biotechnology’s pipeline includes its lead product candidate, UBX0101, which has completed a Phase 1 clinical trial for osteoarthritis in the knee. After promising results revealed last June, where the treatment demonstrated that it was well tolerated, the company plans to move forward with a Phase 2 trial of UBX0101 for the same condition. The company’s other products are UBX1967 and UBX1325, both of which are being tested as possible treatments for age-related diseases in the eye.
Ellison has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to aging research. According to the New Yorker in 2017, he has donated $370 million to aging research.
Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page have also jumped into the water and helped to launch Calico, a research and development company whose mission is to harness advanced technologies to increase the understanding of the biology that controls lifespan. Calico is part of Alphabet, the holding company that also owns Google.
“Whenever you meet a fundamental human need, there’s a market,” said Michael West, a gerontologist and the CEO of AgeX Therapeutics, an American biotechnology company developing medical therapeutics related to human longevity. “And in this case, the market for age-related disease and aging is a trillion-dollar market,” he added.