Message From Our Founder
A Deeper Perspective On Aging
”What Makes Us Different?”
In May, 1998, I drew a chart made up of 960 squares. Each square represented one month – for a total of 80 years. It looked something like this: Note: Each row is equivalent to 2 years.
Oops! I’m running out of squares!
You’ll notice some of the squares are filled in. And some are empty. The solid squares represented the months I already lived. Actuarial tables tell us men my age (55 at the time) can expect to live to about 80 years of age. Then they die. The empty squares therefore represented the number of months I could expect to have left.
I noticed a serious problem. I already used up most of my squares. And the most healthy, vibrant and productive ones at that. So, after some thought, I came up with a solution.
I needed to add more squares!
And that’s how MaxLife Capital was born.
Some Personal History
Just what led up to the day I drew my squares? Let’s go back in time for a moment to 1978.
Life takes funny turns.
29 years ago, I was a rising young entrepreneur who had set up the largest master general life insurance agency in the country. I felt like I stood on top of the world. Besides the millions of dollars that were about to come my way, I enjoyed being in great shape. I was a long distance running, dedicated weight training, vitamin popping health fanatic. I was also an avid golfer with an all-star girlfriend, an ocean front home and a new Mercedes convertible. I guess you could say I had it made.
Then came a twist of fate that dramatically changed my life. And it directly affects you. Let me explain.
I was working out in the gym when something popped. The next day, I found myself staring at the ceiling of a hospital room, connected to machines and monitors and unable to move or feel anything below my chest. A freak spinal cord injury kept me confined to a wheelchair ever since. My injury eventually cost me everything – my business, my ocean front home, my girlfriend... a complete personal and financial wipeout. But most of all, it cost me my attitude! One minute, I was on top of the world - then suddenly, a hopeless paraplegic. Let me tell you, I wasn’t much fun to be around for a long time after that. I was depressed, irritable... and even suicidal.
Yet, in a strange way, lots of good came out of that sharp turn in my life. Besides giving me a much needed dose of humility, it made me much stronger emotionally. I almost “threw in the towel” when my accident happened, but instead, I finally made a commitment to do two things. First, I needed to make myself financially secure again. I managed to do this by working out of my bedroom in a new business to me... venture capital.
Next, I committed my life to conquering the diseases we all bundle under the umbrella of “old age”. Why did I do this? At first, I raised funds for spinal cord injury research. But since I studied life extension since my 20’s, I realized only about 150,000 Americans suffer from SCI while 300 million are aging. I also realized I would be very old before I could ever walk again. So guided by some of the most renowned aging scientists in the world, I had a unique insight into how to extend or even save the lives of the 37 million people a year who die “prematurely” from aging related causes. Then my long-term goal, walking, took a back seat to a bigger and more important goal... a dramatic increase in the length of time a person can live a normal healthy life.
I’m not a quack. I’m not a promoter. And I don’t need the money. I’m realistic, and I know investors want safety and a healthy return. So my primary focus was to set up a funding strategy that eliminates the reasons people don’t invest in an area that is perceived as risky and uncertain. I also wanted to make it possible for investors to be among the first to enjoy the health benefits we might develop in the future.
And of course, I want to live long enough to cure my own paralysis. I want to run again. And I want to recapture some of the lost youth my injury took away from me.
Will I realize my dreams? I really don’t know. But I do know incidents like paralysis and suffering and most of the ravages of aging will be things of the past one of these days. And I do believe we have a fighting chance to reap the benefits of those “miracles” in our lifetimes. I also believe the worst thing that will happen from this project is, we’ll add some healthy years to our lives and will make small fortunes in the process.
Now let’s go back to that day I drew my squares and conceptualized MaxLife.
Our mission is to:
"Maximize health and longevity… in Minimum time and Maximize investment returns… while Minimizing risk.”
We do this with a creative investment strategy that combines capital preservation, liquidity, an annual dividend and venture capital returns... while developing technologies that are designed to extend your healthy lifespan by at least 20 years in the intermediate future.
In a radio interview some years ago, the host started out by asking the well-know American entrepreneur and author Robert Ringer, “In order of importance, what would you say are the three most essential rules when it comes to making money?” Without hesitation, he blurted out: “Rule No. 1: Stay alive. Rule No. 2: Stay healthy. Rule No. 3: Stop losing money.” The phones rang off the hook for a full hour.
Do you realize you can quadruple your net worth by doing nothing more than living 15 more years? It’s true. Just compound your portfolio at a 10% annual gain.
Not only would adding more healthy squares to peoples lives be a profitable and humanitarian thing to do… it would also represent one of the greatest business and investment opportunities of all time. We’re determined to dramatically extend the healthy human lifespan within the lifetimes of our financial partners and of our management team. We may not be able to create more hours in a day or more days in your year, but there’s a strong likelihood that we can create more years in your life!
Recapture Your Perspective
Remember how foreign or abstract death seemed to you when you were a teenager? Imagine how you would feel now if you know you had 50 youthful years ahead of you. How would you plan? What would you do?
Think about this for a moment: If I described the physical signs and eventual prognosis of aging to you, but you didn't know how old the person was that I was talking about, would you seriously consider the condition to be something nobody should look into addressing medically? Aging takes a healthy, vigorous person and progressively leads them down the path to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, stroke, joint problems, overall weakness and immune dysfunction… and eventually kills that person. Without fail.
When we see these symptoms in children, we call it progeria, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anyone suggesting that we should just "let nature take its course" and let these children get sicker and sicker to the point where they die. Rightfully, we attempt to address their health challenges with therapies like aspirin, blood pressure pills, and cholesterol-lowering drugs. In addition to these conventional treatments, we also support research along possible avenues to find more effective treatments that strike right at the source of this condition – the genes and underlying biology.
Sometimes these symptoms start appearing in young adults – a sort of "late-onset progeria". This condition, Werner syndrome, results in the initial appearance of rapid physical aging following puberty. Individuals with Werner syndrome commonly die in their forties or fifties. Notice anything interesting about the Werner prognosis? Though the expected lifespan of an individual afflicted with Werner syndrome is actually comparable to the average lifespan just over a century ago, this condition is considered something that an individual would want to fight against with all available medical resources.
Why then, does society ignore the terrible widespread disease that is aging? Why is there no widespread, organized urgency to do something about it? Compare this with attitudes towards equally horrible medical conditions that afflict far fewer people. Small scientific armies - and supporting funding - have been raised and directed to cure cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's, malaria, diabetes, Parkinson's and many other conditions. But aging, the condition we all suffer and die from, the source of so many other conditions we name and fight, is largely ignored or accepted.
Does the stubborn resistance to change kick in no matter how beneficial change might be? We are moving from an era in which nothing could be done to defeat aging into an era in which advancing biotechnology will give us the tools to do overcome it. All the old attitudes are no longer relevant, and have in fact become quite harmful:
Now, at the dawn of the biotechnology era, the inevitable is no longer inevitable. The research establishment – if sufficiently funded and motivated – could make spectacular inroads into repairing and preventing the root causes of aging within our lifetime.
We’re so used to people dying from age related causes that we accept it as a normal part of life. And we become desensitized to this death. But let’s look at it from a different angle and see if we can think about it differently.
- 100,000 lives are lost every single day from aging related causes. They’re scattered all over the world. We hardly notice unless we know them. But what if 4000 jetliners fell out of the sky in a single day? We would be astonished, outraged and sickened. Yet effectively, that’s equivalent to 4000 jetliner crashes.
- What if we could avoid… or at least postpone most aging related deaths?
- If 4000 planes crashed every day, wouldn’t the world marshal all its powers to insure aircraft safety, especially if we had no choice but to fly?
- Then why isn’t treating aging a #1 priority?
A key to our ambitious undertaking is to hit at least one breakthrough that will make the world take notice. One goal is to rejuvenate lab animals (turning old mice into biologically “young” mice) while growing profitable companies in the process. We already developed a seven-step plan to accomplish this based on already accepted scientific disciplines.
Methuselah Mouse Project
According to one of the world’s most notable gerontologists, Dr. Aubrey de Grey, there are only seven fundamental kinds of cell damage that occur in aging (generating such side effects as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, cancer, etc.). We believe we soon will have practical solutions for each of them, resulting in profitable commercial products.
Dr. de Grey’s approach sees medicine as a branch of engineering. You don't have to know why things go wrong... you just have to be able to fix them.
He projects less than $1 billion over the next 10 years will produce “escape velocity”. That is, the average age will be extended by a few healthy decades in the intermediate future. And then further advances will be made, so that the potential age of a human being can be ratcheted up dramatically.
How dramatic could this be? Some experts believe the sky’s the limit. Most are more conservative. If we can add 10 healthy years, then 20... and then more to our life spans, why not as much as we want? If we can ultimately reverse the aging process through such promising interventions as nanotechnology and other technologies being studied by MaxLife, wouldn’t this effectively mean immortality?
Not necessarily. We still have to account for accidents, catastrophes or other unknown causes of death. But many experts do believe we can eventually give new meaning to “natural” death and “old age” as we know it. (Please see FAQ’s on page 105 for information on common life extension objections.) So we will leave your definition of “extreme life extension” up to you. The purpose of our fund is to commercialize technologies that extend healthy lifespans as long as possible. To some, this may mean 10 or 20 years. Others may be more ambitious.
But how can we even consider extreme life extension now, especially in light of the fact that we haven’t even been able to cure cancer after spending hundreds of billions over several decades?
In the modern era, our knowledge has been advancing by quantum leaps compared to most of human history. For instance, scientific knowledge doubled from the year 1 A.D. to 1500 A.D. But by 1967, it doubled five more times... and each time, faster than before. Several experts estimate that today, biotech knowledge doubles about every 48 months. Some computer scientists even project that by 2010, scientific knowledge in general will double in less than a year! That means, in the next 4 years or so, we will progress and learn as much as we did from the beginning of recorded history! And we may double our knowledge again by 2011.
Part of the reason? Supercomputers, like the kind now being used in bioinformatics. These computers can do experiments in seconds that used to take years. Consider health. As of just recently, we have the tools to reprogram biology. This is also at an early stage but is progressing through the same exponential growth of information technology, which we see in every aspect of biological progress.
The first genome cost a billion dollars. The National Institutes of Health is now starting a project to collect a million genomes at $1,000 apiece. It took us five years to sequence HIV, but we can now sequence a virus in a day or two.
We can turn genes off with RNA interference, add new genes (to adults) with new reliable forms of gene therapy, and turn on and off proteins and enzymes at critical stages of disease progression. We are gaining the means to model, simulate, and reprogram disease and aging processes as information processes. In ten years, these technologies will be 1,000 times more powerful than they are today, and it will be a very different world, in terms of our ability to turn off disease and aging.
Also, newly developed research tools called “gene chips” can do some tissue studies in hours – or even minutes – that used to take years of animal studies (or that couldn’t be done at all). These gene chips are actually “laboratories on a chip.”
Perhaps the most profound observation is the rate of change itself is accelerating. This means the past is no longer a reliable guide to the future. The 20th century was not 100 years of progress at today’s rate but, rather, was equivalent to about 20 years, because we’ve been speeding up to current rates of change. And, we’ll make another 20 years of progress at the year 2000 rate, equivalent to that of the entire 20th century, by 2014. Then we’ll do it again by 2021.
Because of this exponential growth, the 21st century will equal 20,000 years of progress at today’s rate of progress – 1,000 times greater than what we witnessed in the 20th century, which in itself was no slouch for change. 44
And you’re probably aware that the power of technology per dollar doubles every 12 months. As I said, this means our tools could be 1000 times more powerful in just 10 years… and a billion times more powerful before mid century.
Read That Last Section Again
Now stop and let this sink in for a moment. Look back on the entire 20th century and mentally calculate what 1000 times more progress would equate to. Try to imagine what effect having tools, a billion times more powerful, could have on you and your well-being. This is an incredible, world-changing concept that will impact YOU more than anything else you have ever experienced. Almost all the old rules and restrictions are tossed out.
Here’s a real life example… the Human Genome Project. This project was controversial in 1990, just like extreme life extension is today. With our best scientists, Ph.D. students and our most advanced equipment, we managed to sequence only 1/10,000 of the genome in 1989. Then, halfway through the 15-year project, lettered skeptics, and there were lots of them, were going strong, saying, “I told you this wasn’t going to work. Here we are seven and a half years into a 15-year project, and you’ve only finished one percent.”
But if you double one percent seven times you reach your goal of 100 percent, and that is exactly what happened. Contrary to many experts’ expectations, the Human Genome Project was completed ahead of schedule and under budget. Just when it looked hopeless, progress seemed to explode for no apparent reason. But now you know why. And so did the key researchers. Where others saw little progress, where others saw only a 1% gain on the goal after 7 ? years, the researchers knew they were half way there.
They understood exponential growth. They know that going from mapping 1/10,000 of the genome to 1/100 was a 100 fold gain. They knew they just had to keep up that pace to get to 100%. And they did. They shocked the world with what they knew was simple predictability.
We know what needs to be done. And we know how long it should take until the technology gets developed. That’s why we’ll get control over biology; heart disease, cancer… and over aging in the near future.
We’re making progress faster, better and cheaper... and at a continually accelerating rate. And MaxLife positioned itself directly in the path of this major trend.
We believe that within 15 years, medical technology could add more than one year to your lifespan every year, no matter what your age. In other words, your expected lifespan will continue moving away from you. And since we’re adding about two months per year now and increasing as we progress, during those 15 years, we will add about another 6-7 years to your projected lifespan.
Finally, the new field of nanotechnology could revolutionize cell repair.
Nanotechnology could eventually build or repair almost every cell in the body, from the bottom up, atom-by-atom. It promises to give us complete control of matter and a very efficient way to cure aging damage, injuries and diseases.
How Can We Demonstrate Our Concepts?
It would be easier to accept extreme healthy life extension if there were some hard evidence besides recent dramatic results in lab animals. This is why we support Cambridge University’s, Dr. Aubrey de Grey’s Methuselah Mouse Project. It is designed to rejuvenate aged mice (at least two years old) to achieve the grand old age of five. This equals 160 years in humans. Similar rejuvenation techniques could then be applied to humans. We believe commercial applications will be developed during and after the initial 10 year period.
Dr. de Grey’s project stemmed from Maximum Life Foundation’s first international scientific conference in 2000. We plan on developing other technologies as well, including select genomics, nanotechnology and artificial intelligence.
We may develop an entirely different proof of concept. Once we prove it can be done in animals, we expect the investing public to catch the vision and grasp the investment opportunities. Then all the necessary money should become available to intervene in human aging. MaxLife plans on being a catalyst to that next step… while acquiring early positions in some leading life sciences companies along the way.
Since June, 2000, we sponsored three life sciences scientific conferences. About a dozen-world class research scientists attended each working weekend. The first two were brainstorm sessions to better understand and intervene in the aging process. Those laid the foundation for a methodology to treat and postpone aging and its related diseases. Our objective was to develop a cross disciplinary approach to dramatically intervene in human aging, to repair much of the damage done by the aging process by 2020, to reverse aging by 2029... and to identify specific market opportunities in the interim.
The results of these dialogs were spectacular… and somewhat surprising. We discovered several interesting things:
- A strong scientific basis does exist to find treatments and cures for some of our most devastating diseases by studying the aging process. For example, by studying aging, researchers discovered certain genetic mechanisms lead directly to aging related diseases. They are now developing interventions to prevent, control and cure those conditions.
- We established a network of leading scientists, companies and research universities focused on the aging process. This puts you among the first in the world to have access to some of the most promising independent and university based research. With this focus and relationship base, you’ll see many of the more promising ideas and products in the field.
- We determined how to get around two of the biggest obstacles of turning good science into marketable products.
- Most of the best independent and university researchers in this field spend only about 20% of their time in the lab. Funding will enable them to stay in the lab where they are most productive.
We also concluded the upcoming convergence among biotechnology; information technology and nanotechnology will change the world, as we know it. This imminent event has put our mission on the fast track. We reached that conclusion in June of 2000 and received validation by the National Science Foundation’s 450-page report titled, Converging Technologies for Improving Human Performance.
We have designed a unique and highly focused business model based on the above experiences and data. We believe MaxLife Capital is the first life sciences funding entity to incorporate this progress accelerating strategy for selecting investment candidates.
We also developed a science-based strategy to keep you alive and healthy while on our path to intervening in the aging process.
Emerging Trillion Dollar Industry
The human life span extension segment of the life sciences industry, known as “Anti-Aging Medicine, is still in its infancy. And it gives you profit opportunities today. The current venture capital community is not designed to take advantage of many of the best opportunities in this area. The largest segment of the US population is enteringthe “anti-aging marketplace right now. Baby boomers are interested in longer quality of life, looking and feeling young, enjoying a longer period of sexual health and cures for the very diseases they will face shortly.
Anti-aging medicine is the upcoming trillion-dollar industry. Today’s anti-aging pursuits include cancer cures, cures for Alzheimer’s, tissue regeneration, memory enhancement, looking younger applications, energy applications, sex drive enhancement products, extending the healthy human life span, and so on. Tomorrow’s pursuits are more ambitious. Our sights are set on maximum intervention of the aging process – reversing most of the biological effects of aging.
The human death toll in the Year 2001 from all 227 nations on Earth was nearly 55 million people. 52 million of these were “natural” deaths and 37 million were directly related to aging.
Each one of us carries within us a unique and complex universe of knowledge, life experience and human relationships. Almost all this rich treasury of information is forever lost when you die. If the vast content of each person’s life can be summarized in just one book, then every year, natural death robs us of 52 million books, worldwide. So each year, we allow a destruction of knowledge equivalent to three Libraries of Congress.
In an article titled “Medical Value, Despite Many Obstacles” in the September 2, 2006 edition of Medical News Today, it stated that researchers “estimated that from birth, the increased life expectancy since 1960 – approximately seven years, from 69.90 to 76.87 years – has cost $19,900 per added year of life. Comparing this $19,900 against the value of a year of life as defined by the insurance companies and medical decision-makers, a figure that ranges from $50,000 to $200,000, according to different statistical estimates – [the researchers] judged the increase in medical costs to be a good value.”
During the 20th century, average life expectancy of Americans increased by 30 years. This is due in large part to medical advances against major diseases, according to the new study by Murphy and Topel titled "The Value of Health and Longevity," to be published in the Journal of Political Economy. The authors estimate this increase in life expectancy is worth more than $1.2 million for each American alive today. The study found from 1970 to 2000, gains in life expectancy added about $3.2 trillion per year to national wealth.
According to economists at the University of Chicago, in an April 4, 2006 article, finding a cure for cancer would be worth about $50 trillion, and even a modest one percent reduction in mortality from cancer would be worth nearly $500 billion in social value. Social value of improved health and longevity is the amount in dollars that additional life years or other health improvements are worth to people, the report said. The value of improved longevity is based on what individuals gain from the enjoyment of consumption and time during an additional year of life, rather than how much they earn.
- Consider. Natural death also destroys wealth on a grand scale, an average value of about $2 million dollars for each human life lost45, or an economic loss of about $100 trillion dollars – every year. That’s equal to the entire tangible wealth of the world. 46 47
- Consider. The world’s greatest resource is the knowledge, skills and wisdom acquired by 2 billion older world citizens. We waste 100,000 of those resources every DAY due to unnecessary suffering and premature death from aging causes.
- Consider. the fact that you and your loved ones may get access to cutting edge life saving technologies years before they are released to the general public.
- Consider. If we can speed up developing dramatic life extending technologies by just a few years, we could ultimately save more lives than were lost in every war since the beginning of time.
- Consider. We can do this. And better yet, we can do it with low financial risk and with potentially massive financial rewards.
Can you think of a nobler legacy? In fact, consider the prospect of a living legacy… being the catalyst who delivers these scientific miracles to the world’s aging population.
I invite you to join us in one of the most important and profitable ventures in history.
“Every life form fights for survival. That’s how each evolved. Therefore… The Purpose of Life is, and always has been… To Delay and Avoid Death.”