We’ve heard plenty of billion dollar ideas, and as we have recently discussed, the Nordic/Baltic region is pretty good at those. But frankly the good old “Billion with a B” is starting to be a bit boring. How about a trillion with a T?
To speak at Arctic15, we have invited Aubrey de Grey, a world known longevity expert that is certain that the next business will be in the trillion dollar market of solving death itself. Here is the link to the ticket page.
De Grey serves as a gerontologist and Chief Science Officer of the SENS Research foundation (Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence) as well as the co-founder of Methuselah Foundation and has been a long-time proponent of longevity by defying the aging process.
As you might have seen in one of his famous TED Talks, longevity can be achieved by tackling the seven processes of cellular decay resulting in aging. Namely – cell loss, nuclear and mitochondrial mutations, death-resistant cells, protein crosslinks, and debris inside and outside a cell. Essentially – it should be possible.
The likes of Peter Thiel and Google are already investing. Thiel has invested over $6 million in Methuselah Foundation and SENS Research Foundation while Goolge got involved in this space with Calico, a biotech R&D lab they established in 2013.
Regenerative medicine isn’t only gaining traction in anti-aging drugs but also organ engineering, combating cardiovascular diseases & diabetes. De Grey is looking towards the future hundreds, if not thousands of years from now. This is exactly the kind of thoughts and ideas we want to share at this year’s Arctic15.
But if you dig deeper, longevity is not the end-goal. In fact, de Grey asserts “Longevity is not really even one of the goals – the goal is health. We want to keep people functioning just as well at any age, both mentally and physically, as they did in their 20’s. Longevity will be a welcome side-effect, but only a side-effect”.
Currently, SENS is in an exciting phase of research development with discoveries ranging from delaying the onset of atherosclerosis to maintaining cancer resistant cells in the bone marrow. Although, the progress is promising, he believes that more funding into research activities would have a positive impact on the progress.
In theory, we are not even that far away from this very interesting side-effect. As we keep extending our lifespan, it is possible that a 1 000 year old human already walks this earth.
As many radical thinkers, Aubrey’s views on longevity has had its own share of criticism and debate around it. For instance the most popular one is the relevance of longevity in an era where overpopulation is a major crisis. De Grey finds these fears unfounded “It’s nothing more than a psychological crutch to put the defeat of aging out of one’s mind so as to avoid getting one’s hopes up. And that’s a mighty selfish reason to delay the defeat of aging and cost humanity 100,000 lives a day”. Nonetheless, the concept of treating aging as a disease which needs to be cured has been gaining momentum not only among the scientific community but it has also gotten Silicon Valley excited. As de Grey points out, recent innovations such as the powerful CRISPR technology, which enables gene editing has provided a major boost to therapeutic interventions at genetic level.
At Arctic15, de Grey will share more on the matter and you will see just how big this is going to be. When asked if this is the next billion-dollar idea he quips, “No, its the next trillion-dollar idea!”. You will be able to meet de Grey one-on-one and he will be in good company at Arctic15, as we are also inviting the founders of Prezi, Klarna, Atomico, Wufoo, Adcash as well as partners at Y-Combinator, 500 Startups, Techstars and more. We will be increasing the ticket prices shortly, so grab yours today.