One might think that a pill designed to fight off aging would be one of the most lucrative and easy-to-sell products of all time. However, in the real world, drug sales in the United States are regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, a governmental body that takes a very dim view of medicine sold without conclusive evidence that it works.
Unfortunately for Elysium Health, manufacturers of the Basis pill, the very nature of such a product means it would literally take a lifetime to prove that it works. That’s why they’re marketing Basis as a “nutraceutical”: a supplement without clinical trials or FDA approval.
This approach has allowed Elysium to take Basis to market in a timely manner, but don’t take it to mean there’s no science behind the pill. Basis contains a chemical precursor to a compound known as NAD, which is crucial to successful life extension experiments in mice.
MIT biologist and Elysium Chief Scientist, Leonard Guarente, sees this unique approach as the only way to gather information on potential long term health solutions while maintaining a functional business.
“You have high-end prescription drugs up here, which are expensive,” said Guarente “And you have the nutraceuticals down there, which are a pig in a poke—you don’t know what you’re getting and you don’t know a lot about the science behind them. There’s this vast space in between that could be filled in a way that’s useful for health maintenance.”
Since its founding in 2014, Elysium Health has worked tirelessly to fulfill their mission: solving “the biggest challenges in health with science, to help people live healthier, longer.” Along with marketing their Basis pill, Elysium’s Scientific Advisory Board participates in varied fields including biochemistry and neuroscience as well as working as regulatory officials and clinicians. This hands-on experience helps them guide Elysium’s scientific direction to better serve its mission.
Although their internal R&D is formidable, Elysium Health also partners academic institutions to further global understanding of the challenges facing healthcare innovation. They work with Cambridge’s Milner Therapeutics Institute to solve problems in aging and cognitive and metabolic health. A four-year partnership with Harvard University’s T. H. Chan School of Public Health contributes to studies in aging, cellular function, and the gut microbiome. They’ve also partnered with the Oxford University Medical Science Division to create the Oxford-Elysium Prize Fellowship in Cellular Health, an award for early career researchers who aim to conduct research into cellular health.
Elysium Health stands in the forefront of humanity’s fight against aging itself. Although their Basis pill is impressive, their commitment to ongoing research and partnership with academia shows that it is only the beginning: the first step in a long race that might end in the end of aging itself, forever.