Juvenescence (2): “It’s all about prevention, and that’s incredibly disruptive”

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Juvenescence’s Greg Bailey on democratising healthcare, paradigm shifts and disruptive technologies.

Yesterday we published the first part of our interview with Greg Bailey, CEO of biopharmaceutical company Juvenescence, and member of our Advisory Panel. You can read part one HERE. In part two we look at educating investors, personalising healthcare and investor preference; a few highlights:

  • The patient population for tackling aging is 7.8 billion – a completely different scale of operation with potentially massive returns;
  • Launch of new division JuvYou later this year which will provide web and app-based personalised healthcare recommendations;
  • Banks and retail investors will be the drivers behind Longevity investment.

 

Longevity.Technology: Are there other issues that you need to educate investors about, or are they becoming better informed as time goes on?

Greg Bailey: It’s going in the right direction; there’s already a difference response from when I talked to people in March compared with now. Maybe I’m getting better at telling the story, or maybe the company is moving along, and obviously the fact that biotech is on fire is certainly very helpful.

However, I think that what still needs an enormous amount of education about is the scale of things. Tackling aging is very different from manufacturing a drug for breast cancer, cardiac disease, or inflammatory bowel disease. The population for breast cancer in Europe is probably in the 400,000s, but 400 million Europeans are getting older – it’s just completely different metrics.

 


 

The population for breast cancer in Europe is probably in the 400,000s, but 400 million Europeans are getting older – it’s just completely different metrics.

 


 

One of my sayings that my team mocks me about, is that if we had a drug that cost $0.05 to manufacture, that would increase your lifespan by 10 years, we’d charge $1. A large percentage of the global population can afford $1 a day, potentially over a billion people. That’s one billion people paying $1 a day – at $365 billion a year, we don’t need to charge $10,000 for treatment. Again, completely different metrics and that’s what people need to understand.

Longevity.Technology: Is healthcare becoming more personalised?

Greg Bailey: We’re going to launch a division called JuvYou this year. When we launch our ketone product Metabolic Switch, JuvYou will allow you input your ketones, and give you cogent recommendations on how and what time is best to take the product. You can also monitor your blood sugar with the same device, and it will make recommendations based on those readings. We want to create that relationship with our customers: if you give us your metrics, we will take that trust very seriously; we’re not going to sell it on to advertisers, or anything like that. In addition, at the press of the button, we’ll send all that biometric data to your physician; you hit another button, we’ll delete it.

 


 

“I think we will be the first biotech company that I’m aware of that will have a direct relationship with our patients and consumers in this way.”

 


 

We need to build trust, and trust will also build compliance for our drugs. Giving us your ketone level will reinforce that we are actually doing what we say we are doing – you’ll see your ketones drop as the ketosis works. Give us your blood sugar levels, and we can give you an enormous number of recommendations for nothing because we can use our machine learning. Give me your VO2 max [maximum oxygen uptake] and we can make recommendations about exercise, both about how often and the type of exercise you should be doing.

I think we will be the first biotech company that I’m aware of that will have a direct relationship with our patients and consumers in this way. And that to me is profound – interacting with them and making healthy recommendations. This will be an incredibly powerful development, and we’re doing it to be a trusted ally for our customers, and to help them live healthy longer lives.

It’s the democratisation of healthcare; just as democracy is one person, one vote, so access to healthcare data would be available to everyone, from a top professor at Oxford University, to someone on a smartphone in Mumbai. To me, that’s a very big deal – people trusting us with their information and we’ll try to help them have a healthier life. The more we learn, the better products we can make for them and for everyone.

 


 

“… it’s a new paradigm in healthcare … it will all be about prevention and that’s, to me, incredibly disruptive… “

 


 

We would always recommend a competitor’s drug, if that’s what the results suggest. We wouldn’t be supplanting doctors, either, but encouraging people to consult their doctor if that is what our information indicates. That is the relationship we’ll be building and I think it changes the world; to have that level of sophistication in your phone will be amazing. We’ll start off web-based and then we’ll be looking to add an app – it’s a new paradigm in healthcare.

Then healthcare will all be about prevention and that’s, to me, incredibly disruptive. Instead of trying to treat your heart disease or diabetes, we’ll try to prevent you from ever getting heart disease or diabetes. We’ve talked about the physical manifestations – slowing cellular aging, regenerating a limb, &c – but there are also the psychological issues and that will be the next step after we sort out the physical issues.

Longevity.Technology: Most investors appear to prefer seed-to-early-stage investing; have you found this to be the case in your networks?

This is about talking to the banks again; this is not going to be biotech investors, because they’ll think it’s early stage and worth nothing. They don’t understand that the patient population is 7.8 billion people. So, it’s going to be thematic investors, ESG people [Environmental, Social & Governance], sustainable, environmental investors; it’s going to be funds who understand the diversity of having non-RX, RX and machine learning.

 


 

“This is about talking to the banks again; this is not going to be biotech investors, because they’ll think it’s early stage and worth nothing … It’s a retail event, so crowd-funding has an opportunity to do well.”

 


 

It’s a retail event, so crowd-funding has an opportunity to do well. Most people are petrified of biotech, but it’s no different from mining: put some money in, if you’re lucky you find gold; if you’re not lucky, you don’t. The share price either goes up if you found gold, or drops if you didn’t. If we have a clinical trial, and it’s run by smart, educated people, then it has a better-than-average chance of it being positive and, if it’s right, there’s a 10x return; historically, this is what we saw at Medivation and Biohaven, predecessor companies with which I’ve been involved.

Check out our earlier interviews with Advisory Panel members Michael Hufford, João Pedro de Magalhães and Aubrey de Grey.

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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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