A Dog’s Life Could Hold the Key to Anti-Aging Drugs for Humans

Lauren Goode: So it’s not at the point yet where you have a control group of say Great Danes or rottweilers, and one group is on the drugs and they’ve lived longer, and another group is not on the drugs or they’re using a placebo and they had shorter lives. It’s that you’re looking at specific biomarkers around health span, and so far, some of the evidence is suggesting that there’s greater health or anti-aging in the dogs that are on the drugs?

Celine Halioua: Yeah. I wouldn’t call it anti-aging. I would call it, we’ve improved markers of pathological aging that are tied to a reduction in quality of life.

Lauren Goode: So is it accurate to say then that it is improving dog longevity at this point in time? That seems like a leap.

Celine Halioua: We haven’t extended dog lifespan yet, no.

Lauren Goode: OK. But that’s the goal?

Celine Halioua: That’s the goal.

Lauren Goode: How long before you think there is a breakthrough in this field?

Celine Halioua: What are you defining as a breakthrough?

Lauren Goode: Well, would you consider the FDA approval of the drug a breakthrough?

Celine Halioua: Yes.

Lauren Goode: And when do you anticipate this FDA approval might happen?

Celine Halioua: Yeah, so we are on track for, assuming everything goes correctly and it’s all FDA regulated, having a product that pet parents can buy in 2025.

Lauren Goode: That’s pretty remarkable.

Celine Halioua: Yeah.

Lauren Goode: This is a bit of a personal question, but what does longevity mean to you personally? When we reported the WIRED story on you, you were 28. Are you still 28, or have you—

Celine Halioua: Yes.

Lauren Goode: OK. So you’re 28 years old. You are relatively young in both life—

Celine Halioua: Hey.

Lauren Goode: … and in the world of tech founders, although youth is definitely prized in Silicon Valley.

Celine Halioua: I would say I’m old for a tech founder.

Lauren Goode: Really? You feel that way?

Celine Halioua: Not for biotech, but there’s a whole generation of like 20-year-olds here. It’s a little stressful.

Lauren Goode: What does longevity mean to you?

Celine Halioua: To me, longevity is about freedom of will and reducing the risk that you won’t be able to do the thing that you want to do because your biology kind of goes rogue. I’m not a longevity maximalist. I am not working on immortality. I’ve said many times, and nothing we’re working on at all is a path to that. To me, it’s extremely stressful that there are these whole host of diseases that if you are diagnosed with them, there’s not anything anybody can do for you, and many of those are age-related diseases. So it’s really about having a little bit more control over our biology.

Lauren Goode: Have you always been interested in this subject?

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