Longevity and Moonshot Thinking.

Why only last month, the name game morphed again in the world of business when Google reorganized under the new – Alphabet. (Stay with me on this. There is a longevity connection.)

As a broadcast from The Motley Fool simply describes it, under this new Alphabet set-up, the morphing Google will be “…separating its money making businesses from its Moonshot ones….Google Ad and Internet properties being separated from some of their more tertiary businesses.” It just so happens, as I have referenced in previous posts, one of those “Moonshot businesses” is Calico.

Celebrating its second anniversary last week, Calico’s mission is as they state, “tackling aging, one of life’s greatest mysteries.” This is no mere tertiary business. Since the investments poured forth, this Google moonshot has formed collaborations with other companies such as big pharma AbbVie, to form a new research centre to develop therapies for people with age-related diseases and, recently AncestryDNA, to research the genetics of the human lifespan.

Collaborative venture lift off

Moonshot ThinkingMoonshot thinking in the biotechnology field, focused on goals with lofty hyper-phrases like “ending aging” and “increasing longevity”, has lifted off significantly in the last five years. Most of this well intended activity is only possible because of the collaborative ventures between big business and big academia, where innovation is encouraged often through contests and, as featured in my Sept.15 blog – crowdfunding, exampled by Lifespan.io with their new launch.

Other areas of technology like robotics and assistive technologies are also part of the aging and longevity “moonshot business” world, but that is another discussion. Basic everyday products and services targeted at an older demographic (from medical supplies to home care services) are chunking out their share of the market and are ubiquitous, as evidenced by the endless advertising we see. The moonshot market is still under the radar of mainstream marketing.

Will this soon change? To hear some talk we are on the verge of a new age of discovery comparing this quest, unlocking the potential of life extension, to the first flight by the Wright brothers and the first landing on the moon in 1969, lathered by phrases like “the death of aging”.

“The future belongs to those who see possibilities before they become obvious.”  John Sculley, Moonshot entrepreneur

So it goes. If you want to get in on a big shoot, fifty years after the moon landing, then visit the team at Palo Alto and enter their 2019 Longevity Prize. Next registration deadline is Dec.31, 2015. It’s another fascinating story in what Theodore Roszak called the “disruptive wonders of biotechnology”.

Judging by the photo gallery of the illustrious teams on the web site, my sense is that they are of an age now, where up the line in 20-30 years, they might just see us all benefit from the fruits of these first moonshots and a better promise of longevity.


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