We are an industry now: the emergence of AI-powered longevity biotechnology industry
“Technology leadership in artificial intelligence for drug discovery and biomarker development, academic excellence, extensive collaborations with pharmaceutical and consumer companies, novel methods of attracting top talent, and increasing global reach have allowed Insilico Medicine to build a credible and sustainable business model in the nascent longevity biotechnology industry,” noted Neelotpal Goswami. “In recognition of its pioneering research and ability to introduce novel products and solutions for age management, Frost & Sullivan is pleased to present it with the 2018 Technology Innovation Award.”
In 2004, I decided to quit the computer hardware industry and focus on extending human productive longevity. For years I have been working to deliver tangible research results and popularize aging research as the most important cause from any perspective, be it quantified altruism or macroeconomic reasons. This cause knows no geographical boundaries, and makes every human life more valuable. But in this world, the path to popularity lies through economic incentive and the bigger, the better.
When I published our news on the investment from the global biotechnology giant WuXi AppTec, Pavilion Capital (Singapore’s Temasek), BOLD Capital Partners, and Juvenescence, I did not expect the news to go viral. We received broad media coverage from both general and pharmaceutical industry outlets including Endpoints, Fierce Biotech, TechCrunch and Forbes. GenomeWeb covered our work with George Church’s Nebula Genomics and we were mentioned in the Financial Times.
It was a great week for the longevity therapeutics industry in general. Juvenescence announced the close of its $50 million series A to invest in the many longevity-oriented assets and companies. In addition, AgeX Therapeutics (Mike West and Aubrey de Grey) raised $5 million to go after the most recent advances in regenerative medicine.
My team and I also presented at CogX and Founders Forum last week. CogXis one of the most revered events in AI, bringing together over 6,000 entrepreneurs, financiers, tech conglomerates and the British Government.Founders Forum, one of the premier events for digital and technology entrepreneurship did not disappoint either. With a roster of world class entrepreneurs, CEOs and investors longevity and AI were among the key highlights..
As I explained in my first Medium blog at Insilico Medicine we strive to use the latest advances in AI to understand aging, use aging research to accelerate the research in AI and make the research more interpretable.
Just a couple weeks ago Y-Combinator had their usual Summer enrollment challenge and it was heavily focused on the companies bridging AI and aging research. They are in stealth mode right now, which is their usual style and we do not know who the winners will be. But a lot of capital has now been deployed, so in about one year there will be a plethora of companies coming out of the most professional incubation and acceleration program in the world.
But this week AI for aging research was highlighted for the first time by Frost & Sullivan, with their first 2018 North American Artificial Intelligence for Aging Research and Drug Development Award for Insilico Medicine.
This was a very serendipitous award. A few weeks ago I received an email from Frost and Sullivan, stating that the their analysts had completed a review of Insilico Medicine. I get a few thousand emails a week, and never open all of them. This one in particular looked like a promotional email, but by some lucky chance I opened it and noticed both a brief report on Insilico Medicine and a message saying we had received the award! The report was comprised of information and facts available online from the press releases and research papers etc. But they took such a deep dive into our published research papers that it made me shiver. We usually publish proof of concept studies without revealing the place of the study in our core engine or drug discovery pipeline, soit was a bit scary that someone else could put all the pieces of our puzzle together. I added the full report below.
Another serendipitous event was a visit by a delegation from Taiwan headed by the president of DCB Taiwan on the same day we received the award. The people at DCB are extremely hard working and it was amazing that they agreed to spend the weekend to meet with us, as I had to leave for London on Monday for the London Technology Week.
When I showed the award to DCB team, it turned out that they were is already working with Frost & Sullivan and they are an analytics and education partner of choice for AI, blockchain and other industries. It would be great to see them start the analytical and education series on the AI for aging research and drug discovery with our Insilico Taiwan team.
Last year we were picked by CB Insights, a leading technology analyst, as one of the top 100 AI Companies for 2018. Receiving this award was a great motivator for our team. CB Insights also covered us in the longevity space. However, the Frost & Sullivan award is unique in that it bridges AI and aging research and means there is now more than one player in this field. What we are witnessing is the emergence of these two rapidly expanding and converging fields.
Frost & Sullivan is probably the most reputable industry analysts, and I used their reports when I was at school in the late 90s and then when working for PMC-Sierra and ATI Technologies in the early 00’s. Their reports are often the basis of business plans, influencing strategy and financial projections, growth forecasts, and market size estimates
Recently they published two industry reports:
Anti-Aging Therapies and Services Market — Trends and Growth Opportunities, Forecast to 2022 — Focus on Integrative Solutions Combining Dietary Supplements and Aesthetic Solutions with Clinical Therapeutics as the Market Moves Toward a ‘Prevent-Manage-Repair’ Continuum
These reports are the first birds covering the birth of the still nascent but rapidly advancing and longevity biotechnology industry. One of the brightest minds in modern finance, who previously bet on some of the most unlikely trends and companies and won, Jim Mellon, covered the sectorcomprehesnively in his book called “Juvenescence” which every modern investor should read. And recently, Brian Bergstein covered Jim Mellon’s work and vision in his Medium article at Neo.Life started by Jennifer Metcalfe, the co-founder of Wired.
It feels like a throwback to the the hype and opportunity of the internet era, when many promises were not realized in the short term, but were far exceeded in the long run. And the longevity biotechnology industry is certainly an industry where everyone wins even when there are short-term failures along the way the industry keeps growing. The industry’s goal is to make every human life more valuable — and we should not slow down in any way shape or form.
Longevity biotechnology is a rapidly growing industry and Peter Diamandis is one of the world’s most informed futurists, exponential educators and business people. On June 17th he wrote an article on the Future of AI and Longevity describing this trend and it went viral.
I highly recommend looking at the Frost & Sullivan reports on the aging industry. Every large pharmaceutical and “Big Tech” company should have aging research and longevity biotechnology as part of their corporate strategy. This is not just an altruistic cause but a major opportunity for everyone. Frost & Sullivan summarized these opportunities in just one simple graphical teaser.
There is an enormous threat for the governments of the developed countries already running substantial deficits due to their aging populations and, at the same time, an enormous opportunity for the pharmaceutical companies and startups to make extraordinary profits while pursuing this altruistic cause.
In this report Frost & Sullivan covered the Buck Institute for Research on Aging as one of the undisputed leaders in the longevity R&D space. The CEO of the Buck Institute, Dr. Eric Verdin, is an established scientist with H-index exceeding 100 (100 papers with over 100 citations), and an outstanding leader, who raised millions for top-notch research. He isalso focused on developing a center for AI for aging research at the Buck Institute. Longevity research and AI are rapidly converging, and we expect to see many advances in this area.
We collaborate with the companies that are far removed from healthcare to take the AI-powered longevity biotechnology industry to the next level. One of these collaborators, Neuromation, is contributing their enormous supercomputing cloud and AI expertise to the joint effort and I highly recommend following their chief science officer on Medium.
The Frost & Sullivan award report also noted of our important partnership with the BitFury Group called Longenesis presented for the first time by the CEO of BitFury, Valery Vavilov at the Global Leaders Forum in Korea.
Longevity biotechnology is coming of age. In my opinion, AI is the best way to advance aging research and build sustainable models with the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry may be a bit slow to embrace both AI for aging research and the emerging business models. Meanwhile, while big tech” and large consumer companies are reluctant to venture outside the basic digital health arena into the more regulated area of pharma. However, we can work with both of these worlds on their terms. This award — and the broad recognition we and our nascent industry have received — is proof that the AI-powered longevity biotech industry is becoming more credible and robust. We are poised to change business models and achieve both great business results and immeasurable human gains.
We are very proud to receive this important award and recognition in the seminal report from Frost & Sullivan. The full-text of the report is available here.