Alex Zhavoronkov, PHD
A QUEST FOR AGING WITHOUT LOSING and Continuous improvement
My Dear Friends,

About 18 years ago, I decided to leave a successful career in IT to pursue a lifelong dream — to develop a set of technologies that would allow humans to age without losing and continuously improve. In my opinion, there is no cause more urgent, more altruistic, more impactful, more important, and more ambitious than enabling humans to improve continuously. Aging is restricting our freedom in more ways than any regime, religion, or exploitive corporation. Aging is the major barrier to individual freedom, hope, and prosperity. It inhibits economic growth as well as our collective ability to develop sustainably and responsibly.

After 18 years in the longevity field, while there was significant progress made in many areas of science and technology, I realize that the progress is much slower than I originally expected. Although there are many emerging business models and substantial progress in enabling technologies, including those developed by the companies I run or advise, we are still far from curing or preventing Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, not talking about substantially slowing down or reversing aging.

What frustrates me is that most people do not pay enough attention to the inevitable decline, frailty, loss of function, diseases, and death that are associated with aging and choose to be distracted and spend their time on attention-grabbing causes that only provide a temporary reward. And many very talented human beings choose to focus on inventing, making, and selling stuff and content that people can easily live without instead of contributing to fighting the one silent enemy that is certain to kill everyone eventually. This may be because the problem feels so grand and unachievable that it is easier to rely on others to solve it sometime in the future. But the problem is here, right now, and every individual contributor can make a difference. Like climate change or poverty, aging research requires everyone on the planet to become involved. But unlike climate change, aging is causing millions of casualties and suffering worldwide today and right now.

On the positive side, after two decades of hard work, my commercial ventures have started yielding financial returns. It would be logical to donate part of my wealth to charitable foundations focusing on aging research. However, my ventures are already focused on longevity or enabling technologies, and I do have a pretty good view of the recent trends. And I firmly believe that a company like Insilico Medicine will make much more impact in longevity biotechnology than any charity. That is why I continue to invest in the company personally.

Over the past two decades, I supported many projects in longevity, saw many failures, analyzed a massive number of grants, and learned how to evaluate the impact of the various longevity initiatives. In addition to capital, I can now bring years of experience, and multiple partner organizations to the most impactful projects.
Therefore, I would like to pledge everything I have now, and what I will get in the future, to only one cause — extending healthy productive longevity for all human beings. Instead of donating just a portion of my wealth and energy to this cause, I would like to do more.

Recently, I realized that while aging is at the core of most global problems, the generative AI I am working on can be applied to sustainability, environmentally friendly materials, new approaches to CO2 capture and utilization, and other areas related to keeping our planet clean. I will also dedicate a small part of my time and resources to the development of new technologies needed to ensure the long-term survival of humans and other essential species.

I pledge to spend 100% of my time and personal resources to accelerate research and clinical deployment of longevity technologies. At present, I am not married and do not have kids. I calculated that I could probably spend 6-7 hours a week on my personal life, and I didn't want to disappoint anyone by being a bad husband or a bad father. I will not marry until I meet someone as dedicated to the cause as I am. Also, if I ever reproduce, I pledge to train my kids to excel in biology, chemistry, computer science, and medicine and motivate them to prioritize extending healthy human longevity above all other values.
At present, I do not plan to leave an inheritance, and I will invest everything I have into projects and companies that extend healthy, productive life for everyone on the planet.
My first goal is to build an AI-accelerated and maximally autonomous drug discovery and development platform that will discover and develop new drugs for almost any disease. I am especially interested in developing dual-purpose blockbuster therapeutics targeting aging and major disease at the same time.

I am on track with this goal and have already demonstrated that this platform can outperform traditional pharma and biotech on pre-clinical success rates, time, and cost. We were able to discover truly novel therapeutics that show efficacy in preclinical models and are moving into human trials.

My plan is to also make this platform available to the pharmaceutical companies that are truly interested in transforming their research and development to accelerate and increase the probability of drug discovery and development efforts. Within this platform, we also managed to build one of the most sophisticated knowledge management systems on the planet that can trace innovation and trends from grants to market over 25-30 year periods. I plan to continue developing this system and using it to uncover the most promising trends and directions in biomedical research.
My other goal is to further develop and perfect the system that allows us to track human aging in time at many levels. To do that, we need to have AI systems that understand and can interpret basic human biology. I think we are halfway there. Since 2015 our group published a broad range of AI-powered aging clocks. The first aging clock using deep learning was published by our team. We also showed that it is possible to use generative models to make high-quality synthetic biological data with age as a generation condition. In the near future, I hope to develop much more comprehensive interpretable multi-modal aging clocks using transformers and combinations of different tools.
Finally, I want to develop fully autonomous robotic analytics and discovery systems for personalized medicine and personalized drug discovery. While I cannot reveal the details, these systems will allow us to rapidly discover novel targets and pathways to go after a broad spectrum of diseases and further democratize drug discovery. Our PandaOmics platform is able to very rapidly identify and prioritize targets for a broad spectrum of diseases. Some of these targets have known drugs. PandaOmics is already used by the many top KOLs in the industry and is getting smarter every month. I hope that one day our partners will be able to use this system for personalized drug discovery.
My long-term goal (10 years) is to personally fund and build an AI and robotics-driven research hospital where we can bring longevity technologies as close to humans as possible. To get to this goal, I need to first ensure that Insilico Medicine and its ecosystem companies take the dominant role in the biopharmaceutical industry and redefine the way drugs are discovered. Recently, we made substantial investments into one of the world's most advanced fully-robotic AI-driven laboratories for drug discovery. As we advance this laboratory and miniaturize the equipment, it may be possible to deploy similar labs in hospitals worldwide.
I believe that before 2030, we are going to see a renaissance in cryobiology. Today, cryobiology is a very narrow field with very few labs. But recent advances like rapid re-heating and novel anti-freeze agents will make it possible to rapidly freeze and revive organs, small mammals, and even human bodies. I also have several very promising ideas on how to use pressure and combinations of gasses to achieve cryostasis and reanimation without substantial damage to the biological systems.
Like with the Internet and AI, these advances will converge, and we will see several new industries emerge. Think biostasis for long-term travel, emergency medicine, and even cryocemeteries. I will be dedicating spare time and resources to help advance this field.
Longevity Biotechnology education - and similar projects
While the industry is growing very rapidly, there seems to be lack of accessible educational resources that consolidate the most recent body of knowledge in longevity biotechnology and the related fields and make it available in a targeted way to the different industry stakeholder groups. In 2019 I recognized this problem and brought together a team of scientists and physicians to develop a specialized curriculum for the broadest, most important and underserved professional stakeholder groups - physicians. In December 2020 we launched the Introduction to Longevity Medicine for Physicians course on Udemy. Unexpectedly, it went viral. In just a few months we had over 2.7 thousand physicians and healthcare professionals enrolled in the course. However, Udemy has a minimum charge requirement for longer courses. And in 2021 we moved the course materials to Longevity.Degree, where we could offer it for free. That same year, the first course got Continuing Medical Education (CME) accreditation and was also duplicated on the UK National Health Services (NHS) and HDR UK platforms. We later extended the course series into Longevity Medicine 101 and 201 and the 201 received CME accreditation.
While it is a volunteer effort and it is supported by the wonderful physician scientists, the CME accreditation, free platform, managers of the course, and coordination of the course requires capital and I decided to personally fund this initiative. We will continue developing new courses and expanding the platform.
I am also interested in supporting other educational programs within the academic institutions, research communities, and medical societies. We do have substantial amount of material to share and substantial research for more content to be created. I can dedicate some limited time and personal resources to these initiatives, especially if they can be synergetic with Insilico Medicine.
Supporting young Scientists – Inspire Longevity and similar projects
In 2021, the team behind the ARDD conference decided to introduce a new feature - Inspire Longevity program for high school students who are interested in longevity and would like to formulate their career path in the space. It started simply with volunteering, and KOL interviews but some of the students wanted to try and get hands-on experience. And with the tools like PandaOmics, it is possible to rapidly ramp up and try to identify targets for the age-related diseases and biological processes implicated in aging. In 2021, for the first time, Andrea Olsen, presented her work on target discovery at the ARDD. In 2022, Andrea and another young high school student, Zachary Harpaz, will present their work on target discovery again in a form of a poster and oral presentation.
In the future, I would like to provide personal support for similar projects and help these students find great mentors and get hands-on experience with the fundamental biology of aging. At present, there are no undergraduate programs specializing in longevity biotechnology and to reach the graduate level, with the right skill set and mind set, these students will benefit from attending the leading industry conferences, working in teams and growing their networks. In the future, they may want to start longevity businesses and I will be very happy to invest and accelerate their progress.
Supporting conferences – Aging research and drug discovery and similar projects
I have been directly and indirectly supporting the longevity conferences since 2004. In 2008, I helped organize the first "New Applications of Aging Research" conference for GTC Bio, which was a large conference platform in the past, in San Diego featuring Lenny Guarente, Michael West, Michael Rose, and many other famous scientists as well as multiple startups including Sirtris and Genescient. The conference did not grab the attention of big pharmaceutical companies and GTC Bio decided not to continue with this topic. However, it was a very important learning and networking experience.
I realized that it is very important to have big pharmaceutical companies involved and engaged from the very inception of the conference.
In 2012, I met Dr. Bhupinder Bhullar, who was heading the molecular pathways group at Novartis. He was part of the organizing committee of MipTec/EMBO/BaselLife conference platform. Basel is the heart of the pharmaceutical industry and it made a lot of sense to make the Aging Forum as part of one of the industry's largest events to attract the pharmaceutical industry scientists and executives. In a few years, the conference became the top go-to place for academics and startups to meet big pharma and network with the venture capitalists.
In 2019, Dr. Morten Scheibye-Knudsen took over as the executive chair, and in 2020 it moved to Copenhagen. Today, it is organized by the University of Copenhagen together with Insilico Medicine and is the world's largest forum in longevity biotechnology, bringing together top academic scientists, big pharmaceutical company scientists and executives, VCs, and biotechnology companies. I am happy to support this conference financially on the personal level via the Longevity Pledge and also through Insilico Medicine. In the years to come, I plan to put more personal resources into this event and encourage my friends to do the same.
In addition, I am supporting several other conferences in the field with both personal funding and promotional capabilities. My LinkedIn network exceeded 30 thousand professionals, mostly in the pharmaceutical industry. If you require support for the meeting, please do get in touch and I will evaluate it.
Conference travel grants – Longevity Fellow Awards
Some of the young scientists in Inspire Longevity program and similar initiatives do not have substantial resources to attend conference and network with the potential mentors and thought leaders who can help navigate their careers. I will be helping some of them with travel grants called the Longevity Fellow Awards.
When I started transitioning from IT into longevity biotechnology in 2004, there were very few media resources and books available online. Today, there are several large portals exclusively dedicated to longevity biotechnology. One of these portals is Longevity.Technology by a company called First Longevity. I am very happy to serve as the advisor providing latest industry news and at times providing direct or indirect support to the portal. I encourage my network to help Longevity.Technology and other dedicated portals that are required for the industry to grow.
Promoting international Friendship, collaboration, and cultural understanding
In 1926, Ayn Rand landed in New York. She was so impressed by the energy, entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, dynamism and equal opportunity, that she depicted it in her Magnum Opus, Atlas Shrugged. I feel the same way when I land in Shanghai or any other large city in China. It became the beating heart of human progress and with the increasing welfare people are extending their all-inclusive culture to helping others. The country is now focusing on common prosperity. However, this meteoric rise of China made many countries allergic to it. I realized that most people in the West have the fundamental misunderstanding of China and there is much confusion caused by the media and misinformation. And while I will not be able to fix it, I will try to explain how important this is for the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. There is a real chance to join forces with China to drammatically accelerate human progress in biomedical sciences. And the drugs discovered in China will help every sick person on the planet.
We also see amazing new initiatives in longevity biotechnology in countries that are undergoing dramatic cultural transformation and investing heavily in the development of technology capabilities. The UAE and Saudi Arabia are rapidly transforming themselves into technology megahubs. I would like to contribute to the promotion of the various biomedical initiatives in the region and cover this exciting new trend. Longevity diplomacy may help improve the cultural understanding between the many countries, global collaboration, and avoid hatered and conflicts. I will do whatever it takes to promote friendship and cooperation even when it is more beneficial to pick a side. The most fundamental human right is the right to life and countries should be focusing on how to increase health and longevity of their citizens.
dedicating time to government and funding organizations focusing on longevity
Since 2008, I was involved in the many non-profit, VC, and government initiatives aimed at accelerating progress in longevity biotechnology. Today, I am much more selective and will only contribute to projects where my talents will be very helpful and welcome and the time I invest may result in substantial benefits to the community. At present, I am advising the APPG for Longevity in the UK, the AITC program of the NIA, and advicing VC firms LongeVC, as well as several large funds that have made bets on Insilico Medicine and are interested in the field.
In 2004, I decided to make a radical switch from IT into biotechnology and worked tirelessly to first advance myself and then help advance the field. I worked tirelessly to learn biology, regenerative medicine, chemistry, and bioinformatics. But I made many mistakes on the way and also realized that there were many alternative paths to get into the industry. I think that IT professionals, especially those who reached the point of self-sufficiency, can make a substantial impact if they transition to longevity biotechnology and contribute to the field. Many of them witnessed the birth of the Internet, mobile, social, and hundreds of dramatic technological advances that are powering the technological marvels that we take for granted today. At some point, many of them question the paradigm of reaching the peak performance and then declining and dying and also exploring longevity in the context of effective altruism. I will allocate some time and resources to help with the education and formulation of the optimal career paths for the IT professionals interested in transitioning into biotechnology.
Academic Research and Perspectives – See Google Scholar and NON-ACADEMIC WRITING – SEE FORBES.COM
Academic Writing: While the product or software on the market is probably more important and benefits patients much more, I think that it is very important to present and publish research and perspectives in peer-reviewed academic journals. You can follow the research I am leading directly and indirectly contributing to on Google Scholar. While most of the papers are in ai, chemistry or biology, many of these papers serve as the building blocks for tools that are needed to advance longevity biotechnology in the classical biotechnology framework.
Non-academic Writing: I am very fortunate to have the front seat at and witness the birth of some of the most interesting initiatives in longevity biotechnology. And I will spend a part of my free time covering some of the most interesting stories in the field, contributing to and other portals. I am also frustrated that many of the female scientists and physicians do not have as many opportunities to highlight their work as men do. I also started the Women in Longevity series of articles, in which I interviewed longevity physicians and scientists to highlight their work and inspire more people to get into the field.
Sustainability, Environment and Climate Control
While there are better people to work on climate change, several technologies I am working on can be applied to sustainability, environmentally friendly materials, new approaches to CO2 capture and utilization, sustainable agriculture, and other areas related to keeping our planet clean. As we prepare for longer lifespans, it is important to ensure that we have sufficient control over the environment to prevent and cope with the environmental problems caused by human development, as well as by natural disasters.
In 2022, the 9th Annual Aging Research and Drug Discovery (ARDD) meeting will feature well-known researchers from biotechnology companies and respected academic institutions. Beginning on Monday, 29th of August with a longevity medicine workshop, the conference will continue with discussions of model organisms, study design for human trials, various molecules, the power of AI in developing interventions, aging of specific organs and systems, -omics, biomarkers, metabolism, genomic issues, the microbiome, and many other topics.
"Longevity ought to be a fundamental human right — the right to live as long and well as possible"

Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD