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Earlier this year, we hosted the Ending Age-Related Diseases 2018 conference at the Cooper Union, New York City. This conference was designed to bring together the best in the aging research and biotech investment worlds and saw a range of industry experts sharing their insights.

Joe Betts Lacroix of Y Combinator and Vium discusses the different ways in which entrepreneurs can focus on overcoming the diseases of aging, namely direct, indirect, and money-first approaches, and the strengths and weakness of each.

Joe was the primary technical founder of hardware/software startup OQO, which entered the Guinness Book of World Records for building the smallest fully featured PC. His experience spans from biotech research to electronics design. Very experienced in invention, prosecution and monetization of intellectual property, he has over 80 patents granted and pending in fields ranging from biophysics and safety systems to antennas, thermal systems, user interfaces, and analog electronics. He has written numerous peer-reviewed publications in fields such as biophysics, genetics, electronics, and robotics. Joe holds a Harvard A.B., an MIT S.M. and a Caltech research fellowship.

During his talk, Joe makes the point that there is, in fact, plenty of investor money available for promising therapies against aging, but there is currently a lack of credible companies to invest in. Some funds are desperate to fund good science and yet settle for only marginally related companies due to the lack of companies focusing on the aging processes.

Joe believes that there is a serious need for more direct efforts and that more startup companies focused on aging must be created. He also comments that there already are many longevity-focused groups, societies, and aggregators covering the field now and that people should not launch new ones; we agree with this sentiment, and we encourage anyone interested in getting involved in the community to join an established group that already has a proven track record of success.

We hope you enjoy this insight into the world of investing and startups in biotechnology, and we will see you next year for Ending Age-Related Diseases 2019.

About the author

Steve Hill

Steve serves on the LEAF Board of Directors and is the Editor in Chief, coordinating the daily news articles and social media content of the organization. He is an active journalist in the aging research and biotechnology field and has to date written over 500 articles on the topic as well as attending various medical industry conferences. In 2019 he was listed in the top 100 journalists covering biomedicine and longevity research in the industry report – Top-100 Journalists covering advanced biomedicine and longevity created by the Aging Analytics Agency. His work has been featured in H+ magazine, Psychology Today, Singularity Weblog, Standpoint Magazine, and, Keep me Prime, and New Economy Magazine. Steve has a background in project management and administration which has helped him to build a united team for effective fundraising and content creation, while his additional knowledge of biology and statistical data analysis allows him to carefully assess and coordinate the scientific groups involved in the project. In 2015 he led the Major Mouse Testing Program (MMTP) for the International Longevity Alliance and in 2016 helped the team of the SENS Research Foundation to reach their goal for the OncoSENS campaign for cancer research.
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