Hevolution Foundation, Saudi $ Billions into Anti-Aging

[updated May 26, 2022]
A major new longevity science-focused foundation has been announced. It had been rumored and hinted at by Nir Barzilai and others over the past year that major Middle East money would be the source for the funding for the $40 million TAME study. At the same time there has also been some excitement around the formation of the Hevolution Foundation, a Saudi-backed non-profit that will “provide investments in biotech to incentivize healthspan science across disciplines and borders.” Details are still sparse, but it is apparent that these two developments are likely the same thing and Hevolution is funded with $ Billions of dollars (rumored to be as much as $20 Billion). To put this in perspective, the National Institutes of Health puts only about $300 million/year into the basic biology of aging research (The Division of Aging Biology) and most of that has been on Alzheimers research which has yielded little. Only around $5 million a year is put into the NIA ITP program that tests new compounds for anti-aging effects, the most interesting and promising project in the entire NIA for healthy longevity.

If the rumors are accurate this will be, by far, the biggest funding for longevity science ever attempted. Depending on the exact yearly budget allocation/investment plan this single foundation could be investing many times more each year than the entire US government does in the biology of aging. So this is a really, really big deal. And, finally the required translational human clinical trials for all the successful examples of “drugs extending animal lifespan” studies (e.g. rapamycin, canagliflozin, acarbose, metformin etc.) may get the needed funding to see conclusively if they also work in humans as we expect.

At the American Aging Association Annual Conference in San Antonio today (May 18, 2022), Felipe Sierra (who was the Director, Division of Aging Biology, National Institute on Aging, NIH, but who now seems to have taken over the role of Chief Scientific Officer at the Hevolution Foundation) officially introduced the new endowment for the Hevolution Foundation. The project was initiated (I suspect) at the behest of Saudi Prince Mohamad Bin Salman (MBS) and was pushed through by Royal Decree (the second of such decrees made in the last century, some people say). The formal launch of the foundation will be in a few week’s time.

The Hevolution Foundation aims to be positioned as a global leader, catalyst, partner, and convener, to increase the number of scientists entering the field, to increase the investable opportunities in the field of aging, to help shape the regulatory and government environment

“Its vision is to expand healthy human lifespan for the benefit of all humanity”

Their goals seem to be proactive prevention to keep people from getting sick. And also to address problems in the Geroscience field: insufficient funding, lack of coordination, the difficult regulatory environment, scientific uncertainty (needed research), lack of public awareness. And they will fund research.

The organization itself is a nonprofit. They are still determining big-picture matters such as whether they will form an institute. The name is based on: Health + Evolution = The Hevolution Foundation. The leader of the project is: Dr. Mehmood Khan and he’s already participating in the Longevity Biotech Association. And, I suspect that Hevolution is the source of the $1 Billion investment in the new Longevity Science Foundation in Switzerland.

It will be interesting to see how this organization and its efforts progress. Will it ultimately look more like a non-profit “Softbank Vision Fund” for geroscience and longevity startups, or an aggressive and flexible “National Institute on Aging”? or an “Impetus Grants” organization on steroids? Or a completely new model?

The Good News

Billions of dollars are to be invested in geroscience research to translates the discoveries gained from animal research into therapies for humans. This is truly a huge benefit for humankind and will help move the needle of healthcare worldwide from “sick care” towards true “healthcare”, i.e. keeping people healthier, longer and not just waiting for people to get sick and then treating their diseases.

There are perhaps a dozen drugs and supplements that have, in rigorous studies, already been shown to increase lifespans and health spans in animals. This research has been done over the past decade, and been repeated by multiple labs. These life-extending compounds are revolutionary, but little to nothing has happened since then in the way of validating these compounds in humans. There is a vast unaddressed need for human clinical trials on these compounds (both individually, and in combination) to take them to the next level, to confirm that they work or do not work, in humans.

But in many cases these compounds are generic medications, so there is no financial incentive to do the expensive human clinical trials (but because they are generic, they would also be cheap and easily available for everyone). So to validate these longevity drugs in human clinical trials, and give people an additional 10, 20 or 30 years of healthy life, would be a huge development that would revolutionize healthcare.

The other good news is that it seems like they’ve recruited Felipe Sierra, who was the Director, Division of Aging Biology, National Institute on Aging, NIH. Given his focus at the NIA, he seems like a good hire that adds some gravitas to the team. While this organization is not well defined yet, it would be great to see some leaders with a mindset and track record more similar to Rick Klausner and Hal Barron of Altos Labs who have a history of moving biotech products into commercialization successfully. I hope they balance the team with some younger biotech executives who have more of a sense of urgency than the typical NIH employee. I love the NIH, but it just moves too slowly with far too much bureaucracy.

This new foundation has the potential to really amplify progress in the longevity biotech and longevity drug market, and by doing this begin the transition to a greater focus of healthcare systems on “prevention”. I suspect that all we need is one well-validated longevity drug, and the world’s healthcare systems and the NIH would be awakened to the idea that this is a viable and most cost-effective approach to improving healthy lifespans worldwide. After one longevity drug is confirmed, I believe that the national healthcare systems in all the developed countries will see that this path is the best path for improving its citizen’s health. At that point the vast amount of money that currently goes into disease-oriented sick care, can start to be transitioned into Longevity / Geroscience focused on optimizing health and disease prevention, and the process will speed up dramatically.

The Bad News

While I completely agree with the stated goals of the Hevolution Foundation, I am concerned about a few issues that may get in the way of the success of this new foundation.

While its great to see the large investment into the field, I really wish it could have come from a source with “cleaner hands” than MBS and the Saudi royal family; a group known much more for protecting their self-interests, and killing and imprisoning journalists, than they are for caring about the health and welfare of the rest of humanity. Given all the negative news on Saudi Arabia / Kashoggi, etc. over the past 4 years, there is a large segment of the US and European population that view MBS and Saudi Arabia very negatively. The most recent 2022 Gallup poll saw that only 5% of Americans had a “very favorable” view of Saudi Arabia while 65% of Americans had an unfavorable view. Only 20% of Americans trust MBS to do the right thing in world affairs (and most of that 20% are probably people who don’t follow the news). So, while its great that MBS has seen the potential for longevity science and is investing in it, the best thing he could do now if he wants Hevolution to succeed is to step far away from the organization and let smart people implement the vision. The greater the separation between the Hevolution Foundation and the Saudi Royal family / Saudi Arabia, and the more independent the foundation is, the greater its chance for success. Ideally Hevolution would be headquartered where the research is being done - in Europe or the USA - so that it can move fast, and work in close co-ordination with the researchers, and not be so linked to Saudi Arabia in people’s minds. Conversely, the more closely the Hevolution Foundation is associated with Saudi Arabia and MBS, the bigger the problems outlined below will be.

The only group less trusted than the Saudi government these days are Putin and the Russian oligarchs. And, as it turns out, there is also a strong Russian oligarch connection for the Hevolution Foundation. Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a sanctioned Russian oligarch and former KGB officer, identifies himself as a member of the Hevolution foundation’s Trustees on his UK House of Lords profile. The UK security services don’t trust Evgeny Lebedev; it was reported by The Sunday Times that British security services warned that granting Lebedev a peerage posed a national security risk but Boris Johnson went ahead with it despite the security service assessment. I hope that official news reporters will research what safeguards Hevolution has implemented so that the Russian oligarchs and Putin will not get early access to longevity therapeutics coming out of the organizations that the Hevolution Foundation funds.

And, really, could they have chosen a less inappropriate “public face” of the foundation? I mean choosing a former executive from Pepsico as the public-facing head of a health and longevity foundation is like if Mark Zuckerberg headed up a foundation who’s stated goal was minimizing the harm of social media and digital addiction by teenagers. While Dr. Kahn may be an excellent manager, the irony and negative symbolism of a former executive from Pepsi running a health and longevity foundation will not be lost on people (Pepsi’s products have probably done more to shorten people’s lives than all but those from Coke and Philip Morris - See Pepsi and the Obesity Epidemic). The optics are just bad, and makes the organization’s declared goals seem disingenuous. It would be best to have Felipe Sierra (or someone like him with public health credibility) as the public face of the organization and Dr. Kahn as the COO / Operational leader operating behind the scenes.

And to make things even more suspicious about the organization, if you look around at the cached pages of the Internet you can see that the Hevolution Foundation had a complete website that covered their organization up until recently, and that they have deleted that entire website and removed everything about it (almost) from the web.

Given the many critical and skeptical news stories we’ve already seen around the “Billionaires wanting to live forever” narrative for the Bezos, Thiel, Sergei Brin/Larry Page investments in biology of aging research, I’m sure the press (and some portion of the public) is going to have a field day with this new announcement. Hevolution had better hire a world class PR firm to try to spin away the “Dictators wanting to live forever” issue that has always come up when people point to potential downsides of longevity biotech and geroscience research. To improve public perceptions of Hevolution it would be beneficial to get some added investment from more trustworthy, reputable medical foundations, like The Gates Foundation, The Welcome Trust, Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), etc. And, if Hevolution really wants to get ahead of the negative publicity, they should also make some serious, significant plans to preemptively address the inequality problem that is inherent in this research (perhaps working with some group like the Stanford Center for Longevity to do this, leverage existing analysis on pharma R&D and pricing, and also create country-by-country lifespan-oriented Gini coefficient). A large percent of the population is skeptical of the idea that longevity science benefits will “eventually” trickle down to the common person, or will do so very slowly, so a plan needs to address this issue and be publicized. While off-patent, small molecule drugs like rapamycin are inexpensive, many other very promising veins of longevity research like cellular reprogramming, gene therapy, stem cell treatments, and young blood factors/plasma dilution are more likely to be very expensive in clinical applications, and may not come down in price much over time.

People are also concerned about “unintended consequences” around longevity biotech. We see frequently that new technologies and innovations result in serious problems that were unanticipated, or ignored early on. The Internet was thought initially to level the playing field so that small businesses and individuals around the world could sell everywhere easily, but it instead greatly enabled the creation of monopolies, so companies like Amazon and Google dominate global e-commerce. Social media was developed with the goal of “building community and bringing the world closer together” but instead it frequently fosters deadly conflict and misinformation, and polarizes people with personalized information bubbles. What does society look like if the top 1% of the wealthiest have life expectancies that increase 10%, 30% or 60% faster than the life expectancy increases of the bottom 95% of the population? Prices for longevity technologies may come down over time, but the wealthy will repeatedly get the most effective and expensive therapies as they become available, so the “lifespan inequality gap” will always grow. And, of course, wealth inequality and lifespan inequality will be mutually reinforcing; the more money you have, the longer you live, the longer you live the more money you get… How long will it be before human society starts looking like that of the bee colony, where the queen bee lives 5 to 10 times longer than the worker bees? What if longevity science identifies a technology that will allow lifespans 10X longer, but costs $10 Million in medical procedures? What if monthly $50,000 “young blood transfusions” allowed 5X lifespan improvement? All indications are that lifespan inequality will quickly become a big problem unless specifically targeted early on. It would be prudent for Hevolution to put some significant investments into groups focused on identifying and modeling potential problems in longevity biotech at the macro level and identify solutions in advance, or find actions that obviate the problems. By doing so, the foundation would signal that they are taking their stated mission seriously, and not hiding behind it to justify MBS’s dreams of living forever.

The aforementioned issues and concerns will also likely negatively impact the Hevolution Foundation’s ability to partner with reputable organizations, and to engage, recruit/hire and motivate the PhDs and Postdocs doing the actual labwork and clinical trials to move the science forward. Its hard to keep people motivated if it looks like the true beneficiaries of geroscience research are most likely to be the guys on the Hevolution board of trustees, and their oligarch, monarch, and billionaire friends. The people who are driving the progress in the longevity field are a group of academics and researchers (many of whom are in California, Boston, London, Singapore, etc.) that tend to be liberal and left-leaning, and the geroscience and longevity biotech markets are hot (Altos Labs, and dozens of new startups are hiring a lot of people, and academic geroscience labs are busy filling the positions of people they’ve lost to the startup companies) so people can, and will, avoid Hevolution projects due to perceived negative associations. Leading geroscientists have many options in the longevity space right now and competition is fierce for talent. Why would any good geroscience researcher work with Hevolution and potentially tarnish their reputation, when they could go to Altos Labs and avoid the taint? Perhaps it will only be the 2nd and 3rd tier researchers that will take money or partner with Hevolution, because of the reputational risk. We will see…

Given that Hevolution seems to be a combination of the Saudi/oil money and the Russian Oligarch choices (because of the Oligarch-son, board member), it seems that this poll suggests that somewhere between 26.4% and 85% of researchers would be hesitant to take funding from the group.

I look forward to the investment in geroscience research, but I’m more than a little concerned about how this is going to play out in the press, and the court of public opinion, which is concerned about dictators, royalty and billionaires being the primary beneficiaries of this research. The increasing health and income inequality in society is a huge and urgent issue in the world today and many people are concerned that geroscience and longevity biotech may make the problem even worse, potentially by an order of magnitude. Public opinion is already largely negative on the issue of significant life extension via biotechnology and geroscience. Longevity science investments by the world’s aristocracy may make society much more volatile if the benefits are not distributed broadly. Most people probably wouldn’t accept a world where their lifespan varies in direct proportion to the size of their bank account. However, an early “win” with a positive clinical trial for a generic drug like rapamycin, metformin, or acarbose, because they are cheap and available, would go a long way in assuaging concerns, and in redeeming MBS/Hevolution, geroscience and longevity science in any detractor’s eyes and help build public and NIH/NHS support and momentum.

Ultimately some of these issues (e.g. dictators living longer) exist with or without geroscience research because the wealthy already have much better medical care (see Saudi Royal family spends $1.5 million for a health checkup at the Mayo Clinic). And the issue of who benefits (e.g many bad people with too much money, oligarchs, etc.) would come up no matter who funded the longevity or even more broadly any who benefits from any medical R&D. On the whole this investment could be a very positive development for most of humanity if it is managed well. The negatives are a matter of degree, not of kind (at least right now). Given that a number of the identified longevity compounds are already generic drugs, I have no question that the public at large has a potential to really benefit from them if they are proven as effective in humans as they are in animals.

If the Hevolution Foundation wants to be seen as focused on helping all humanity, and not just the vanity project of a prince, it needs to seriously invest and address the legitimate concerns that people have about geroscience research.

Humanity will also have to resolve any of the downsides that we do encounter and dictators are a problem today whether they live 70 or 120 years. Even today the children of dictators and royalty (e.g. Kim Jung Un in North Korea) frequently replace their elder family members, so dictatorships are an issue no matter how long the ruler’s life is.


June 7th, 2022 Update:

The MIT Technology Review has posted a new article on the Hevolution Foundation. See below:

But the publication doesn’t cover many of the problems and issues around the Hevolution Foundation’s board of trustees stacked with the royal family, billionaires, and the son of a Russian oligarch, as well as omissions in terms of addressing the open issues that the public is concerned about longevity research - like potential inequalities, unintended consequences, etc. I hope other publications cover these issues in more depth.

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Yeah. Sometimes you have to hold your nose and accept the billions for the greater good.
As for the press, they have a very short attention span and will move on to something else within 24 hours or so.

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Past (2021) news articles that mentioned The Hevolution Foundation:

Comments from Longevity Discussion forums: What pro-longevity people are saying about Hevolution announcement:


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It is good news that the kingdom openly supports anything with “evolution” in its name. Kudos.

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Is there anything they’re doing that ISN’T the most incrementalist research possible?

I think it will take time to see… its early days, they have a lot of money, and there are so many promising targets that they could really push forward quickly and make a difference with. We’ll see…

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The bad news mentioned in the article cannot be overlooked. They are murders and terrorists. But I do appreciate you pointing that out in overview. A lot of articles wouldn’t even address it.

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Amazingly, the Hevolution Foundation does not have a wikipedia page yet. Would you like to create a Hevolution page?

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Hi - the foundation hasn’t been officially launched yet, and still doesn’t have a website (watch on www.hevolutionfoundation.org over the next few weeks I suspect). I’m sure after they launch someone will create the wiki entry!

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I just poked around on the internet again and discovered that the Hevolution Foundation has, on their board of trustees, the son of a Russian oligarch. Its almost as if someone at the Hevolution Foundation is hinting at a new James Bond Villian movie, describing the plot via their actions but without explicitly saying anything. I’ve added text on this issue in the main posting:

“There is also a Russian Oligarch connection. Evgeny Lebedev, the son of a sanctioned Russian oligarch and former KGB officer, identifies himself as a member of the Hevolution foundation’s Trustees on his UK House of Lords profile. It was reported by The Sunday Times that British security services warned that granting Lebedev a peerage posed a national security risk but Johnson went ahead with it despite the security service assessment. I hope that official news reporters will research what safeguards Hevolution has implemented so that the Russian oligarchs and Putin will not get early access to longevity therapeutics that the Hevolution Foundation funds.”

And they used to have a live website and they took it all down quite recently… which is highly unusual for an organization that seems to have been in existence for well over a year. I hope it was just a work in progress, and that they are working hard at addressing all the governance issues and linkages that seem so problematic, so that they don’t get destroyed by negative press in all the world’s newspapers. Imagine, if you will, “Khashoggi murder” levels of global front page news coverage of the $20 Billion MBS/Pepsi/Russian Oligarch Foundation that, from all intents and purposes, looks to be designed for making royalty, dictators and oligarchs live forever.

If the newspapers want to cover this group with a skeptical eye, as they likely would, the headlines practically write themselves: “Saudi Prince and Russian Oligarchs Launch $20 Billion Manhattan Project to Live, and Stay in Power, Forever”.

My suspicion is that this won’t be well received well by most of the population, especially as ongoing wars are being waged by dictators/oligarchs and royalty in Ukraine and Yemen. Imagine how much backlash this project (as its currently structured) could generate worldwide in popular culture… even in the longevity enthusiast community we already see a large percentage of comments are very negative and critical of the group and their associations.

While the foundation seems to have made a half-hearted effort at positioning the organization as being “benefit all humanity”, most people will interpret this as disingenuous given the people involved and their personal track records. Its hard to take the goal statements at face value while the people who are associated with the organization are seen as responsible for, or affiliated with, the deaths of many tens of thousands of people in unpopular wars, and internal repression. Does anyone truly believe that the royalty and oligarchs have suddenly become concerned about the health and longevity of any other people?

This foundation, as its currently designed and staffed, has the potential to tarnish the entire Longevity Biotech and Geroscience field for a generation, set things back by 50 years in public opinion, and permanently drive away the large public health investments (i.e. NIH/NHS funding) that could really sustain the field in the long term.

If they launch prematurely, without having addressed all the issues and problems that are pretty obvious to anyone who is not in the Hevolution bubble, you could easily have a situation where no respectable longevity scientist will ever want to work with the group. There could be boycotts in many academic institutions just as there have been last month against the minor (in comparison) sexual harassment charges against David Sabatini who was the lead mTOR/rapamycin researcher until recently. You can see it playing out like this: N.Y.U. Will Not Hire Scientist Accused of Harassment After Backlash.

You can see the remnants of the group’s website in google search results when you search on this in google, but you find that all the content has been removed from the website when you click on the links:

If anyone managed to save the files from the Hevolution website before they removed it, please contact me, I’d love to see them.

https://stg.hevolutionfoundation.com

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Longevity Research is important - not because people will live for ever but they would live healthier. The article is also completely out of line describing the CEO credentials - who is a Board Certified Endocrinologist, worked at Premier US Health Center Mayo Clinic, has vast experience in Pharmaceutical industry and an expert in Food Sciences pushing for healthier beverages and snacks. Without getting into politics of human rights and political set up, the entire world including US imports oil from Saudi Arabia. Is Saudi Arabia is moving towards modernization it should be encouraged. At the end of the day the world scientific community will review and accept the results based on authentic findings. If one was to accept your view than no research coming out of China and Russia should be accepted. Let’s keep science and politics apart. And yes those investing in this pivotal work will make loads of money- What’s new there. It’s called Business. Let’s stay positive and not turn scientific ventures into Tabloid news. NI

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Obviously, we are a site for people who use longevity drugs to live longer, healthier lives - so we totally agree that longevity research is important.

Also, while not an explicit goal for most of the longevity biotech or geroscience community, many people who are longevity enthusiasts are working to eliminate aging entirely, as expressed in the concept of “Longevity escape velocity” (LEV)". And its a topic that comes up often when the press talk about longevity science and biotech so I expect it will be associated with this group, as it has been with Calico Labs, Altos Labs, etc…

From an operational standpoint, Dr. Khan may be a fine choice, my criticism is purely from the perspective of Public Relations for the foundation, as it fights to gain some credibility, and overcome the negative associations it has with the Saudi / MBS and other people affiliated with the group.

Dr. Khan’s bio is linked to in the first post here. While he does have years early in his career as a doctor, and 5 years work experience at pharma company Takeda, most of his work experience was at Pepsi (12 years, according to his Linkedin profile). Pepsi is widely viewed as having a negative effect on human health and longevity, or as this business news story notes: A fiery new report makes a convincing case that Big Soda is the new Big Tobacco.

And, Its highly unusual to see any former Pepsi (or Coke for that matter) executives in the health and longevity field as I look at Calico Labs, and Altos Labs, and throughout the Geroscience and Longevity biotech. In fact, in searching through the list of companies I can’t find a single other case of an ex Pepsi or Coke executive leading these organizations. As I said, he may be fine from a management/science perspective, but as the public head of a non-profit focused on health and longevity, it really looks bad. If Dr. Kahn was trying to move Pepsi in a healthier direction than the company is noted for, I would expect some statement of significant achievements towards that goal, but I’ve seen non supplied. I think the public would be equally skeptical of an executive from a cigarette or vaping company, even though there may be some very serious scientists in those companies who really want to help the health and longevity of people. At first glance, It just doesn’t give the public confidence that this person truly cares about human health and longevity.

I think a persuasive case can be made for taking money from the Hevolution group to help people’s health and longevity, but I also think that people’s concerns about the organization and about geroscience and longevity biotech in general, need to be addressed with serious efforts, and not just platitudes. If Hevolution Foundation is serious about its goals and mission, it would be helpful to see significant, concrete steps being taken to address people’s concerns about the organization, its governance, and the potential downsides of geroscience and longevity biotech.

You mention that the entire world imports oil from Saudi Arabia, and that the country’s movements towards modernization should be encouraged. I can see that argument, but this is also what people said about Russia until recently… but people now say that strategy is one of failure, and most western governments are now moving away from that approach, as the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. See this article:

And I’m fine with using information gained from China and Russia (or the Hevolution Foundation, in the case of the Saudis, I’d rather see them put the money into health and longevity than another of his yachts), or mansions, etc as there is more social value) - I’m just not entirely sure that US and European labs and researchers will want to be taking their money, if it looks like the unstated goal of the organization, or the likely outcome, is to first be perpetuating the lives of the dictators, royalty, oligarchs, etc. You also mentioned profits - I think profit making from capital risks taken with startup companies is fine, thats not an issue.

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I read your opinion with a wish that you will present your argument factually. If you look at when Dr. Khan graduated from medical school , it would be abundantly clear that most of Dr. Khan’s professional career has been in highest standard medical care (clinical and research). I refrain from speaking for any corporation including Pepsi. But if you read and review in detail Pepsico efforts during Indra Nooyi’s tenure you would see a focus on a significant move towards healthier products, water conservation, and many environment friendly approaches. This switch in direction by Pepsico under Nooyi was what Dr. Khan was involved in. Pepsi as a beverage had existed long long before either Nooyi or Khan became part of it. You also do not discuss in any detail the pivotal role that Dr. Khan is playing in leading LifeBiosciences which includes the highest ranking academic institutions such as Einstein, Harvard and others. I will always defend your right to have your opinion, but will even more strongly defend the Truth. Your article is selective cherry picking , speculative, and meshes scientific excellence with political opinions. You are clearly a very intelligent man, but I fail to understand why you are taking stands which are at least half baked if not factually completely incorrect. On a side note, we have made significant advances in the United States in research, but also have a fairly ugly history of slavery, genocide of native americans, and racism practiced even today. You and I call such acts wrong without throwing away all the scientific advances. Respectfully.

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Still, it would be great if RapAdmin could do something about the home page so we don’t have to look at that murderer’s face whenever we visit the rapa.news site!!

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This may be all true - I have not looked into Pepsi management and strategy over time, and Dr. Khan’s resume in detail. To be honest, I think the Dr. Khan employment at Pepsi is overall a relatively minor one compared to the much bigger issues of the money coming from MBS/Saudi Family, their history of seemingly being interested only in selective health and longevity for people they like or do good things for them, and the Russian Oligarch affiliations.

Aha! Now we are talking separating science from politics and human rights. So let me take the liberty of continuing our agreement. WE now agree that valid research should be accepted irrespective of funding. Having said that both you and I condemn human rights violations and authoritarian suppression of freedom of speech where ever they might be taking place. But my friend change is coming though very slowly. I believe in Zen Philosophy that when you point a finger in blame towards someone three fingers are pointing towards yourself. Talking about human rights let us start a movement that Jails in US are not privately owned and trying to keep their minimum quota to function the cells are filled with minorities who get the maximum sentences as compared to their other co citizens who are not minority. Let’s take a walk in shelters and homeless population in the streets of New York City. And last but not the least let us make our political leaders not be subservient to the people you have stated as criminals. We have a lot of real work to do right here at our home (US) before we go about changing the world. Respectfully.

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Ah - complete agreement with you on the jails in the US, racial disparities, inequalities, homeless, etc. Yes - we have a ton of work here in the USA, and in all western democracies to do. I just tend to think that, broadly speaking, democracies with free and fair press, tend to do better in these areas than dictatorships and kingdoms.

Oh, and as an aside… I also came across this post by a biologist who attended a recent “Longevity Summit”, and I quote this just to demonstrate how people tend to associate the message with the company (and the company’s history) even if unrelated to the specific case at discussion:

There was also a thought-provoking talk from Antonio Tataranni of PepsiCo, about the role the food and beverage industry has to play in making lifespan-extending interventions (if such things exist) more accessible by putting them in food. This idea has some historical precedent (iodine in table salt, vitamin D in milk, fortified breakfast cereals etc.), but would have sounded better coming from a representative of the USDA, rather than someone working for the second largest food & beverage corporation on the planet, which is partly responsible for our current obesity epidemic.

Generally speaking yes the democracy is the best form of governance. And this is why the issues we highlighted in our own home are even more intolerable because we have sworn to a constitution which promises the higher standards. And how do we even explain Guantanomo Bay and Abu Gharaib Prison atrocities. Let’s agree that we have a capitalistic society with democracy. Capitalism always wins and we keep silent when our allies are involved in the worst atrocities. Too many examples where we sit silently and only provide lip service.

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When the favorite food for at least two prior Presidents (Democrat and Republican) of US is Big Mac, it’s hard to educate otherwise. I think we have to give due respect to Papa John’s oil dripping Pizza. We have become a nation of affluence and will soon be turned into Romans with fat bellies, lots of food and wine, Just prior to the downfall of the Roman Empire. This cycle repeats itself with every dynasty and race.

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The real discussion on this forum should probably be the softly regulated natural compounds versus highly regulated pharmaceuticals in dealing with the process of ageing.