Some of the biggest names in longevity research — and at least one Seattle biotech startup — say they’ll enter a $101 million, seven-year competition to turn back the clock on the effects of aging by at least 10 years.
XPRIZE Healthspan was unveiled today at a conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It’s the richest incentive-based technology competition ever created by the XPRIZE foundation, beating out a $100 million XPRIZE Carbon Removal contest that’s being funded by Elon Musk, the world’s richest (and most controversial) billionaire.
The top prize in the Healthspan contest will go to the team that does the best job of creating a therapy that can be administered in a year or less, leading to the restoration of at least 10 years’ worth of muscular function, cognition and immune function in people aged 65 to 80.
Peter Diamandis, the founder and executive chairman of XPRIZE, said the concept started out as a longevity prize, but the program’s planners “realized that the idea of waiting 20 years to see if someone won the prize was probably impractical.”
“We shifted from longevity to really looking at age reversal first, and then functional restoration second,” Diamandis explained. “You see, it doesn’t really matter what your epigenetic age is. Do you actually feel younger? Do you have the muscle, immune and cognition that you had 10 or 20 years ago? Because at the end of the game, that’s what really matters.”