Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The Saudi royal family has started a non-profit organization called the Heavolution Foundation, which plans to spend $ 1 billion a year on its oil resources to support basic research on aging biology and find ways to prolong people’s lives. In good health, the concept of “health span”.

The amount, if the Saudis could afford it, could make the Gulf state the single largest sponsor of researchers trying to figure out the root causes of aging – and how to slow it down with drugs.

The foundation has not yet made a formal announcement, but the scope of its efforts has been highlighted in scientific meetings and is the subject of enthusiastic chatter among older researchers, who hope to underwrite large human studies of potential anti-aging drugs.

The fund is managed by Mehmood Khan, a former Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and one-time PepsiCo chief scientist, who was hired as CEO in 2020. “Our primary goal is to extend the life span of a healthy person,” Khan said in an interview.

Muhammad bin Salman provides funding for anti-aging research

MS Tech | GETTY

The idea popular among some longevity scientists is that if you can slow down the body’s aging process, you can delay the onset of multiple diseases and prolong healthy years as people enjoy as they age. Khan says the fund is going to fund basic scientific research into what causes aging, as others have done, but it supports drug studies, including trials of “patent expired or never received treatments.” He also plans to take it a step further. Commercialization. “

“We need to translate that biology to make progress towards human clinical research. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter unless there is something on the market that really benefits patients, “says Khan.

Khan says the fund is authorized to spend up to $ 1 billion per year indefinitely, and will be able to raise financial stakes in biotech companies. By comparison, the U.S. The department of the National Institute on Aging, which supports basic research on the biology of aging, spends about $ 325 million a year.

Hevolution has not announced what projects it will support, but people familiar with the group say it plans to raise $ 100 million in ex-prize money for age reversal technology and on a preliminary agreement to fund metformin testing for the diabetes drug in several thousand elderly people. Have arrived. People

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