The Saudi royal family has set up a non-profit called the Hevolution Foundation with a plan to spend up to $1 billion a year of its oil assets to support basic research into the biology of life. aging and seek to prolong human life years. in good health, a concept known as “healthy longevity”.
The amount, if the Saudis can spend it, could make the Gulf nation the largest single donor for researchers trying to understand the underlying causes of aging — and how can it be slowed down by medicine.
The organization has yet to make an official announcement, but the scope of the effort has been outlined at scientific meeting and is hotly talked about by aging researchers, who hope it will carry out large human studies of potential anti-aging drugs.
The fund is managed by Mehmood Khan, a former Mayo Clinic endocrinologist and one-time principal scientist at PepsiCo, who was hired as CEO in 2020. “” Our primary goal is prolonging a healthy life,” Khan said in an interview. “There is no medical problem on the planet bigger than this one.”
Some longevity scientists popularize the idea that if you can slow the aging process of your body, you can delay the onset of many diseases and prolong the healthy years that people have. enjoy while growing up. Khan said the fund will fund basic scientific research into what causes aging, like what others have done, but it also plans to take it a step further by supporting research. drugs, including testing “out-of-patent or never-before-seen treatments that have been commercialized. ”
“We need that biological fluid to advance to clinical studies in humans. Ultimately, it won’t make a difference until something comes onto the market that actually benefits patients,” says Khan.
Khan said the fund is allowed to spend up to $1 billion a year indefinitely and will be able to take financial stakes in biotech companies. For comparison, Division of the US National Institute on Aging basic research into the biology of aging spends about $325 million per year.
Hevolution has not announced which projects will return, but people familiar with the team said it has considered funding $100 million X Prize for age-reversing technology and has reached a preliminary agreement to fund the project. a trial of the diabetes drug metformin in several thousand elderly people. Everyone.