“We want to bring the concept of longevity to life”

Maximon CSO talks about clinics, diagnostics and why longevity goes way beyond drug development.

Last week’s Longevity Investors Conference in Gstaad brought together the big and the good in the field of longevity, demonstrating once again the growing global interest in healthy aging and rejuvenation technologies. Maximon, the Swiss company behind the event, is a fascinating story itself, with its model of starting and building longevity businesses from the ground up.

Longevity.Technology: From companies developing longevity supplements and health analytics to skin aging therapies and longevity clinics, Maximon has already created an interesting stable of start-ups, with more to come. The company recently announced Dr Elisabeth Roider as Scientific and Medical Director, as he builds the senior team that oversees his portfolio companies. We caught up with Roider to find out more.

Roider, a Harvard-educated physician-scientist who also works at Basel University Hospital in Switzerland and Harvard Medical School. She believes that working in both research and with patients provides a useful perspective when it comes to building businesses in the field of longevity.

Roider, a Harvard-educated physician-scientist who also works at Basel University Hospital in Switzerland and Harvard Medical School.
Elisabeth Roider from Maximon leads a round table at the Longevity Investors Conference in Gstaad

“Working in a life science innovation hub like Boston showed me that it’s possible for scientists and physicians to actually work on bringing products and solutions to market,” says Roider. “It’s not something that is clear to many academics, but it inspired me to get involved in the business side of science and ultimately led to my new role at Maximon.”

A broad approach to longevity

Maximon’s approach, says Roider, is to take a fairly broad approach to longevity, targeting some initial low-hanging fruits, with the intention of adding higher-risk “moonshot” projects to a date. later.

“Some things about longevity are pretty clear, the importance of sleep and food, for example, so we’re building a nutritional supplement business,” she says. “On the diagnostics side, one of our companies collects holistic biological data and combines it with artificial intelligence and machine learning processes to develop new algorithms to provide health and longevity insights to consumers. .

“We also look at the societal side of longevity, which I think is often overlooked, and explore things like the mental health benefits of co-housing and co-housing. And then of course, we are also exploring medical innovations such as rejuvenating products, currently mainly in the field of skin aging.

Another interesting business being built in Maximon’s portfolio is based on a clinic concept, which will see the roll-out of walk-in longevity clinics in cities around the world. Roider expects the first clinic to open next year in Zurich, where Maximon is headquartered.

“We want to bring the concept of longevity to life – to take it beyond science and drug development,” says Roider. “The clinics will offer everything from diagnostics to cutting-edge therapies to behavior change coaching – how to change your life to make sure you’re headed in the right direction.”

Closing the longevity gap

While acknowledging that the principles of longevity, such as maintaining health and extending lifespan, are “incredible”, Roider is wary of the gap between basic research and real health care .

“There is a significant gap between the innovations made in the scientific community and the interventions used by physicians working in the field,” she says. “Of course, there is always a disconnect between science and actual therapies, but so far there has been limited activity in the field of longevity to close this gap.”

Maximon’s goal, says Roider, is to work to close that gap as quickly as possible.

“Depending on who you talk to – scientist, doctor or entrepreneur – they all have different views on how this can be done,” she says. “But what they all have in common, I think, is a common goal to really push this area forward. And for me, this area is about identifying the right opportunities.

While many assume that longevity opportunities are primarily focused on the discovery of new drugs and therapeutics to combat aging and its associated diseases, Roider points out that the field is much broader than that.

“There are also great opportunities in diagnostics – how to diagnose aging and age-related diseases, and how to really understand what’s going on,” she says. “But it is also a question of prevention. In classical medicine, much of what we now call “longevity” is known as preventative medicine, which is generally not well funded in health care because we focus on caring for the sick. .

“I’ve been trying for many years to get support for different prevention strategies, and they’ve always been extremely difficult to fund. But, with populations aging so rapidly, prevention and longevity interventions are now becoming essential, so now is a good time to pull the strings together on all these different areas of longevity.

Combining creativity and scientific rigor

While Roider recognizes that Maximon wants to be innovative, creative and push the field forward, his role is to ensure that this is done in the most scientific and rigorous way possible.

“Maximon has already established various collaborations with university laboratories around the world,” she says. “We are looking at the microbiome area and mRNA or general RNA therapies for vaccines as well as treatments, as well as gene therapies, senolytics, etc. There are many hot fields out there, so it’s more about which of these many exciting fields do you choose and what funds do you have to really get started. From our perspective, we are initially looking for opportunities that can be converted into a product in about two to three years.

This focus on getting results in a short period of time may seem ambitious, but Roider says it’s about focusing on specific points as part of a larger vision.

“Even something as complex as a neurodegenerative disease can be looked at in a series of smaller steps, and then it’s suddenly pretty streamlined,” she says. “So you can be rigorous, but at the same time you can be very precise.”

And yet, despite this approach of focusing on specific challenges, Maximon’s overall focus on longevity remains broad.

“We believe the concept of innovation translation is replicable,” says Roider. “And at the same time, we strongly believe that longevity as a concept needs to be approached very holistically.”