Big Business and Anti-Aging

April 24 2008 / by Jeff Hilford / In association with Future
Category: Health & Medicine   Year: 2008   Rating: 9 Hot

Well it’s official, Big Pharma is in the anti-aging game. Yesterday’s news of GlaxoSmithKline buying anti-aging biotech company Sirtris for a whopping 84% premium over the share price marks the cloaked entry of big pharma into the anti-aging arena.

Of course they won’t or can’t admit that that is their goal – they will say that is in service of treating age related diseases – but this is the beginning of an inevitable trend that will result in billions of dollars being poured into anti-aging research.

The FDA does not consider aging a disease that requires treatment. This has stemmed the flow of capital into this area and what has come in has always been (and continues to be) under the very real guise of treating diabetes, metabolic disorders and other diseases associated with aging. This is about to change.

The demographic bubble of aging Baby boomers combined with a growing class of seniors ahead of them already benefitting from life expectancy rates that continue to approach the magical threshold of one year of gain for every year that transpires (Ronald Bailey quotes Ray Kurzweil as putting the current number at three months per year), will lead to an explosion of investment into this area. (cont.)

This will happen in much the same way we’ve seen a dramatic expansion of vc investment into alternative energy sources. These were once a third rail that no one wanted to touch due in part to social stigma, big oil money’s resistance and the perception that progress would be long in the offing. Today, those same factions, conservatives and big oil, are the loudest proponents and biggest investors in this area. The same will hold true for anti-aging technologies. In fact it’s likely to be an even bigger and swifter transformation as nothing changes minds quicker than the sober reality of ones impending mortality. Well, that and the opportunity to make a buck.

For more on the prospects of longevity, see Positive Futurist Dick Pelletier’s Futuretalk posts including this recent one.

When will the FDA recognize aging as a treatable disease?

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Comment Thread (1 Response)

  1. Good piece, Jeff.

    The worlds largest and most powerful research organization, the National Institutes of Health, recognize every disease and sickness that contributes to wear and tear on the human body (aging), and aggressively supports investigator’s efforts to find cures.

    This position has resulted in the creation of programs like 2020: A New Vision – A Future for Regenerative Medicine, which hopes to change US healthcare from reactive to proactive. By harnessing stem cell therapies and new RNAi genetic engineering techniques to rejuvenate aging bodies, the NIH hopes to make new tissues and organs available at affordable prices to every American by 2020 or before.

    Many biotech breakthroughs are expected to surface in the next decade, and during the following decade, the 2020s, molecular nanotech could wield the final blow against aging with tiny nanobots cruising through our veins correcting faulty DNA and insuring that every cell in our body remains forever young.

    Will these forward ideas become reality in such an aggressive timeframe? Positive futurists believe that they will.

    Posted by: futuretalk   April 24, 2008
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