$1 million Palo Alto Longevity Prize and Google Founders promised to back up Calico with whatever funds are necessary

The Palo Alto Longevity Prize (the “Prize”) is a $1 million life science competition dedicated to ending aging. Theirs is one of a growing number of initiatives around the world pursuing this goal—the more shots on goal the better. Through an incentive prize, their specific aim is to nurture innovations that end aging by restoring the body’s homeostatic capacity and promoting the extension of a sustained and healthy lifespan.

The Palo Alto Prize is also working with a number of angel investors, venture capital firms, corporate venture arms, institutions and private foundations within Silicon Valley to create health-related incentive prize competitions in the future. This first $1 million prize comes from Yun’s own pockets.

The initial prize will be divided into two $500,000 awards. Half a million dollars will go to the first team to demonstrate that it can restore heart rate variability (HRV) to that of a young adult. The other half of the $1 million will be awarded to the first team that can extend lifespan by 50 percent. So far 11 teams from all over the world have signed up for the challenge.

Just six decades after Orville and Wilbur Wright launched the aviation age, President Kennedy pronounced a moonshot: fly people to the moon and back. Eight years later, the mission was accomplished. Now, six decades after James Watson and Francis Crick discovered the code of life, it is time to embark on another historic mission: hack the code of life and cure aging.

The Palo Alto Longevity Prize (the “Prize”) is a $1 million life science competition dedicated to ending aging. Ours is one of a growing number of initiatives around the world pursuing this goal—the more shots on goal the better. Through an incentive prize, our specific aim is to nurture innovations that end aging by restoring the body’s homeostatic capacity and promoting the extension of a sustained and healthy lifespan.

There are two prizes available and teams may compete for one or both prizes:

• A $500,000 Homeostatic Capacity Prize will be awarded to the first team to demonstrate that it can restore homeostatic capacity (using heart rate variability as the surrogate measure) of an aging reference mammal to that of a young adult.

• A $500,000 Longevity Demonstration Prize will be awarded to the first team that can extend the lifespan of its reference mammal by 50% of acceptable published norms. Demonstration must use an approach that restores homeostatic capacity to increase lifespan.

Each team participating in the Prize is responsible for funding 100% of its participation in the Prize including all research and development costs and publishing its work and/or the reproduction of results.

To enable a rapid commercial path forward for the innovations, the sponsor of the Prize will be contributing an existing pool of relevant intellectual property to the Prize effort.

Team Name: DECO
Team Leader Name: William Sarill
Location: Arlington, MA
Approach: Pituitary Hormone

Team Leader Bio:
William Sarill, MA is a visionary inventor and entrepreneur with broad interdisciplinary interests. Originally trained in physics, he has worked in the field of supramolecular biochemistry for the past 30 years, often collaborating with Thomas Brennan, PhD. Together they founded CoPeptide Research in 1986 and its successor, Argos Biologicals, Ltd., in 1992. As chairman of Argos, Sarill raised investment capital, collaborated with researchers at numerous institutions, and secured US Patent 6274564 for a novel complex of vitamin B12. Since leaving Argos in 2004 to care for his late wife and teenage children, Sarill has consulted for the nutraceutical and pharmaceutical industries.

Team Name: VOLT HEALTH
Team Leader Name: Scott Wolf, M.D.
Location: Mountain View, CA
Approach: Inflammatory Tissue
Affiliation: Volts Medical, Mountain View, CA
Link: info@volthealth.com

Team Leader Bio:
Scott Wolf, MD is a prolific medical device inventor and entrepreneur. Over the past 20 years Scott founded numerous successful medical device companies across a broad range of therapeutic areas and filed dozens of patents on his inventions. Scott’s primary interest is in how aging affects the physiological and physical functions of the aging body and developing therapies to treat the resulting disease processes. Scott founded Zeltiq Aesthetics, the maker of CoolSculpting, the leading non invasive method of fat reduction for bodysculpting. Zeltiq (NASDAQ: ZLTQ) currently has a market capitalization of $600M and sales of over $100M per year.

Team T.H.I. Regenerative Medicine

Team Lee Lab

Jin Hyung Lee, Ph.D.
Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Team Zucker Lab

Team Mendelowitz Lab

Team Polyvagal Science

Other Palo Alto Prize Videos

Aubrey de Grey says . “With sufficient funding we have a 50/50 chance to getting this all working within the next 25 years, but it could also happen in the next 100,” he says.

If you ask Ray Kurzweil, life extension expert, futurist and part-time adviser to Google’s somewhat stealth Calico project, we’re actually tip-toeing upon the cusp of living forever. “We’ll get to a point about 15 years from now where we’re adding more than a year every year to your life expectancy,” he told the New York Times in early 2013. He also wrote in the book he co-authored with Terry Grossman, M.D., that “Immortality is within our grasp.” That’s a bit optimistic to de Grey (the two are good friends), but he’s not surprised this prize is coming out of Silicon Valley. “Things are changing here first. We have a high density of visionaries who like to think high.”

And he believes much of what Kurzweil says is true with the right funding. “Give me large amounts of money to get the research to happen faster,” says de Grey. He then points out that Google’s Calico funds are virtually unlimited. “Kurzweil asked Larry [Page] and Sergey [Brin] how much he had to work with and they said to let him know when he runs out of money and they’ll send more,” de Grey said.

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