What is Longevity?
At its essence, the longevity space deals with aging-related issues and health disruptions. This does not necessarily imply that longevity treatments and technologies are directed at eliminating aging altogether - chronological aging cannot be eliminated by definition. Biological aging, on the other hand, can be slowed down to a large extent, with some solutions already in place to make this possible.
Definition and understanding of what constitutes longevity vary depending on who you ask, and it can be easy to get lost in semantics when delving into the concept. However, we can identify two different, but not mutually exclusive, logics. The first revolves around the straightforward life extension of a healthy individual - prolonging the number of years someone lives. The second can be boiled down to "healthspan optimization across the lifespan" - remaining healthy for as long as possible, thus widening the gap between one's chronological and biological ages. The two ages are compared with the aid of aging clocks - tools that analyze your biomarkers to estimate your biological age (read more about aging clocks in the LSF's first grant call).
A multi-faceted and interdisciplinary sector, longevity has become a full-fledged industry of its own relatively recently. Longevity media and high-quality educational resources have helped it rise to mainstream awareness. In his article for Forbes, our Visionary Board Member Alex Zhavoronkov points to the advent of several websites (senescence.info, Lifespan.io, FightAging.org, and Longevity.Technology) that played a crucial role in spearheading public awareness and broadcasting the necessity of pursuing a longer life- and healthspans. These resources helped expand a previously modest audience to become a global network of longevity enthusiasts, with conferences and summits happening around the world.
As an industry, longevity is still in its nascent phase but has already managed to captivate the minds of prolific researchers and opinion leaders of the scientific world. It is attracting considerable support from celebrity billionaires, with the likes of Bezos, Zuckerberg, Buterin, Milner, and Bankman-Fried all making sizable contributions. The rising interest in longevity is reflected in exciting statistics from the field, with the market capitalization of the top 500 longevity-focused companies in Q1 of 2022 nearing 5.5 trillion USD - an 18% increase from Q1 of 2021. The formation of new entities in the field serves as another testament to the industry's growth: the second half of the last decade (including the data for 2021) saw more than twice the number of novel longevity ventures compared to the first half of the 2010s. Finally, there is an undeniable spike in VC money inflow, with the latter part of Q3 2022 indicating a 4.11 billion USD investment - a staggering rise from 372 million USD in 2013 (note: the LSF itself is not a VC firm - watch this clip to see why we have chosen our funding model in favor of a conventional venture capital fund).
Stay tuned for our next post where we will explore some of the top areas in the current longevity research!