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FOXO Technologies’ exclusive licence of epigenetic clocks PhenoAge and GrimAge from UCLA could be an insurance game-changer.

FOXO Technologies Inc has announced the licence of two epigenetic clocks, PhenoAge and GrimAge, for use in the prediction of human mortality in the life insurance industry. These licences, in addition to the Epigenetic Mortality Predictor, give FOXO the exclusive usage of epigenetic clocks developed by Dr Steve Horvath for the financial services industry.

Longevity.Technology: Your genes might be set in stone, but your epigenome – the chemical markers that sit above your DNA and switch genes on and off – changes throughout your life depending on diet, exposure to toxins (alcohol, smoking, pollution, &c), stress, exercise and disease. These lifestyle and environmental factors cause methylation, a process where methyl groups become attached to the genes, influencing which ones are switched on or off.

DNA and epigenomes can be easily sequenced with saliva tests, and the number of methyl groups is an indicator of previous lifestyle choices and – hello there, insurance companies – a predictor of future health and even lifespan. Predicting actual biological age, rather than calendar years is clearly something the insurance industry could use; rather than underwriting and policy pricing being based on actuarial data, life insurance could be personalised and dependent on year-on-year choices. It would be rather like those car insurance policies that are based on your mileage; if you run your car or body into the ground, it’ll cost you, both financially and physically.

FOXO uses AI, epigenetics and cutting-edge bioinformatics tools to develop and commercialise epigenetic biomarkers of health and aging. FOXO says it sees broad application for its proprietary biomarker technology for insurers, health researchers and life science companies. Securing the additional licences give FOXO a competitive advantage in its mission to modernise life insurance through FOXO LIFE.

FOXO LIFE seeks to reimagine the role life insurance plays in the health of its customers through a state-of-the-art health and wellness platform with “Life insurance designed to keep you alive”™.

 


 

“The discoveries made by Dr Horvath are astounding and irrefutable as to defining the relationship between measurable molecular changes in our biology and aging.

 


 

“The epigenetic clocks developed by Dr Steve Horvath are the gold standard in understanding biological aging,” said Jon Sabes, CEO and Founder of FOXO. “The discoveries made by Dr Horvath are astounding and irrefutable as to defining the relationship between measurable molecular changes in our biology and aging.”

Steve Horvath
Dr Steve Horvath: Professor in Human Genetics and Biostatistics at UCLA and inventor of the Horvath Clock.

Featured on the cover of Nature Magazine in April 2014, biomathematician Dr Steve Horvath was dubbed “The Clock-Watcher” when he reported the discovery of a strikingly accurate way to measure human aging through epigenetics. What has developed since is a consensus that epigenetic clocks conclusively measure aspects of our biology that relate to aging and mortality.

Slowing aging

In addition, Dr Horvath’s research has shown that anti-aging longevity research can better focus on how to slow or even reverse the aging process by stabilising epigenetic changes, which can be reversible.

FOXO recently announced closing of its first external funding of $10 million, bringing the total to $40 million of funding secured to date, to support its core mission to modernize life insurance with molecular biotechnology.

Images courtesy of FOXO and Dr Steve Horvath
Eleanor Garth
Deputy Editor Now a science and medicine journalist, Eleanor worked as a consultant for university spin-out companies and provided research support at Imperial College London and various London hospitals in a former life.

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