Never grow up: The anti-aging market is a $200B industry

Fairy dust may finally migrate from Neverland over to real life, and Peter Pan ain’t gonna see a dime of it.

According to a report by Citi, as the average life expectancy in developed economies rises, one of the next big market disruptions could be in anti-aging medicines.

In light of recent scientific breakthroughs that have helped explain why we age, the $200B aging market boom could be in drugs that slow, reverse or prevent age-related disease.

Who are the major players?

According to the Citi report, biotech companies like Unity Biotechnology and Calico (a Google venture) are developing compounds aiming to extend human life expectancy.

Humans have been fascinated with the “fountain of youth” for generations, from Ponce de León’s expeditions with the conquistadors all the way back to Plato and the ancient Greeks.

But over the last several decades, there has been a wave of attempts to develop anti-aging remedies, all of which have failed.

Until now… we think?

Today, companies are exploring a number of “potentially transformative” approaches, including hereditary youth factors, and mitochondrial dysfunction.

Though recently, scientists have discovered that among the most promising drugs under development are ones that attack “senescent cells.” 

Senescent cells are blamed for numerous age-related diseases like arthritis, retinal degeneration, and Alzheimer’s, and a study shows elimination of the cells could increase the human lifespan by almost 35%. 

This could throw a big wrench in certain medical markets

The first therapy in clinical trials is a compound made by Unity called “senolytics” that is being tested on patients with osteoarthritis.

And if it’s approved by the FDA, the drug could come into circulation by 2023, meaning major issues for big sellers, as well as smaller anti-aging brands that earn billions promoting their products.

If the senolytic compound reduces arthritis, and is approved by the FDA, the pending drug could disrupt the knee-replacement surgery market (that is currently projected to grow to 3m knee replacements per year by 2030).

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