6 min readMar 11, 2016



On September 9, 2014 we announced the Palo Alto Prize, a $1M initiative to foster innovations that will ultimately help people live significantly healthier and longer lives as a result of better health. The initiative was designed to have two parts, a $500,000 Longevity Demonstration Prize and a $500,000 Homeostatic Capacity Prize.

Historically, incentive prizes have proven to be a very effective tool to foster innovation in specific areas of science and discovery. They create problem-solving ecosystems. The ecosystem works because the prize purse and target pull innovation towards a specific goal while also attracting minds, media and money to help push from all sides. When all cylinders are firing amazing things can happen, entire industries can be created, we discover new heroes, and public opinion changes forever.

Today, we are excited to announce the names of the ten teams that have officially registered for the $500,000 Palo Alto Longevity Demonstration Prize, a three year global competition co-created and sponsored by Dr. Joon Yun that challenges teams from all over the world to “hack the aging code” to improve our health and extend lifespan.

Here is a quick intro video about the prize:

Each of the 10 teams (listed below with videos of their approaches) are from top universities and private labs from North America and all over the world. They have a wide range of proposed approaches to win the prize including (but not limited to) stem cells, genetic modification, modified messenger RNA encoding telomerase, modulation of peripheral metabolism, PAI-1 signaling, antioxidants/free radicals, and manipulation of nested biorhythms. The first of the following ten teams to demonstrate a method of extending the lifespan of an animal by 50% will win the prize.

We would like to thank Dr. Joon Yun for his support and leadership in launching this effort. Without visionary philanthropists like Dr. Yun prizes like the Palo Alto Prize would not be possible. Dr. Yun is the President of Palo Alto Investors, LLC and the founder of the Palo Alto Institute, a nonprofit think-tank that has been providing operational support for the Palo Alto Prize. As a medical doctor and healthcare investor, Dr. Yun has a unique perspective into medicine and the state of the industry. And while he believes that the current healthcare system is doing a remarkable job of addressing the diseases of aging, he helped launch the prize because he believes that “Addressing the diseases of aging without solving the underlying process of aging produces escalating effects on health care spending.”

We created the Race Against Time Foundation in order to raise public awareness and financial support for basic biomedical research related to increasing our health span and defining the fundamental biological mechanisms that prevent age-related diseases and disabilities. Based on the exponential rate of medical breakthroughs, we believe the question is not if we can crack the aging code and solve all major health challenges — but when will it happen. We are in a race against time and it is up to us if to decided if that timeframe is 5 years, 50 years or 500 years.

What can you do to get involved?

The best way that you can get involved is to support science and support the scientists. Take a look at each of our team profiles and reach out to them directly. Every day millions of scientists work to make our lives better. They are society’s real super heroes. These heroes work tirelessly to create and design everything around us, from rocket ships, to clean water filters, to cures for disease. Many of these heroes (like our teams) are dedicating their lives to research that will lead to discoveries that will increase our health span by helping us all live healthier and longer lives. Please support a scientist today!

We are excited to see what the teams come up with, but we also know that this prize is just one shot on goal. We encourage more public and private prizes and other industry efforts to help move the industry forward.

Keith Powers
Race Against Time & Hero Science Foundation

PS. We would also like to thank all of our amazing advisors who helped make this prize possible and who lend their time and their names to move the longevity field forward. Full list at the end of this post below.

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Teams participating in the Longevity Demonstration Prize:
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“Now is the time to launch this prize because we have reached the point in science where we really do have the opportunity to solve aging,” Doris Taylor, Ph.D

“The Palo Alto Prize has galvanized our scientific community to think hard about how our fundamental insights into the mechanisms of aging can be leveraged toward transformative therapies.” John P. Cooke, M.D., Ph.D.

“The Palo Alto Prize has galvanized our scientific community to think hard about how our fundamental insights into the mechanisms of aging can be leveraged toward transformative therapies.” Anirban Bandyopadhyay, Ph.D.

“We are excited to be part of the Palo Alto Longevity Competition. The true prize is longevity, and we are sure that through the collective efforts of all teams, this will be a win for humankind”. Rajagopal V Sekhar, M.D.

“We now have the tools of molecular biology to treat the biochemical basis of aging by targeting many of the known pathways involved in this process.” Navtej Toor, Ph.D.

“The biology of aging is becoming more evident every day that goes by. We are understanding that there are specific changes about cells and tissues as they age, and that there are markers that aging cells make and it’s possible to identify those molecules and theoretically slow down the aging process.” Douglas E Vaughan, M.D.

“Next generation cell-based therapies delivering therapeutic agents to impaired organs may change the life of many people.” Christine Guenther, M.D.

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Advisors to the Longevity Demonstration Prize:

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DAVID ARRINGTON, Chief Branding Officer, Stanford Medicine
SONIA ARRISON, Author, 100 Plus
BEN BARRES, M.D., Ph.D., Chairman, Department of Neurobiology, Stanford University
ALBERT CHA, Managing Partner, Vivo Ventures
STACEY CHANG, Director, Healthcare Practice at IDEO
CHARLES CHO, M.D., Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Stanford University
CASPER DECLERCQ, Partner, Norwest Ventures
AUBREY DE GREY, Ph.D, Chief Science Officer, SENS Foundation
LAURA DEMING, Founder, Longevity Fund
KERRY DOLAN, Assistant Managing Editor, Forbes
JAMES DOTY, M.D., Professor of Neurosurgery, Stanford University Founder and Director of CCARE
FREDERICK DOTZLER, Managing Director, De Novo Ventures
VICTOR DZAU, M.D., President, National Academy of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences
PATRICK ENRIGHT, Founder and Managing Director, Longitude Capital
FRANK FISCHER, President and CEO, Neuropace, Inc.
JIM GLASHEEN, Ph.D.,General Partner, Technology Partners
JANELL GOTTESMAN, Founder Physio-Insight and Milieu Institute
BOB HARRINGTON, M.D., Chairman, Department of Medicine, Stanford University
STEVE HERROD, Managing Director, General Catalyst Partners
HOYOUNG HUH, Managing Director, Konus Advisory Group
WAYNE JONAS, M.D., former Chief of the Office of Alternative Medicine, NIH
REESE JONES, Associate Founder, Singularity University; Trustee, Santa Fe Institute
STEVE JURVETSON, Managing Director, Draper Fisher Jurvetson
NINA KJELLSON, Managing Director, Interwest Ventures
GARHENG KONG, M.D., MBA, Managing General Partner, Sofinova Ventures
FRANK LONGO, M.D., Chairman, Department of Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Stanford University
JOSH MAKOWER, M.D., Founder and CEO, ExploraMed
MICHAEL MCCULLOUGH, M.D., Principal, Capricorn Healthcare & Special Opportunities
DAN MOORE, President and CEO, Cyberonics, Inc.
BARBARA NATTERSON-HOROWITZ, M.D., Professor of Medicine, UCLA Division of Cardiology
OLEG NODELMAN, Managing Partner, EcoR1 Capital
GUY P. NOHRA, Co-Founder and Managing Director, Alta Partners
KEITH POWERS, President, Engaged Partners, Former EVP of Strategy, X PRIZE Foundation
ROGER J. QUY, Ph.D., General Partner, Technology Partners
LEIGHTON READ, MD, Venture Partner, Alloy Ventures, Trustee, Santa Fe Institute
AMIR RUBIN, President and CEO of Stanford Hospital & Clinic
GRAHAM SPENCER, General Partner, Google Ventures, Trustee, Santa Fe Institute
KEVIN STARR, Partner, Third Rock Ventures
CAMI SAMUELS, Partner, Venrock
STEVE VASSALLO, General Partner, Foundation Capital
CHARLES WARDEN, Managing Director, Versant Ventures
ERIC WEINSTEIN, Managing Director, Thiel Capital