XPRIZE Launches Largest Competition In History – $101m XPRIZE Healthspan To Drive Healthier Aging For All

XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, today launches $101M XPRIZE Healthspan. This 7-year global competition is the largest competition in history and the largest XPRIZE to date, offering $111 million total between the prize purse and a bonus award. XPRIZE Healthspan will award $101 million in prize funding to the team who successfully develops a proactive, accessible therapeutic that restores muscle, cognition, and immune function by a minimum of 10 years, with a goal of 20 years, in persons aged 65-80 years, in one year or less. An additional $10M FSHD Bonus Prize will be awarded to a team that demonstrates the ability to restore lost muscular function due to Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD) in one year or less. The announcement was made today alongside Co-Title Sponsors Hevolution Foundation and SOLVE FSHD as part of Hevolution’s Global Healthspan Summit, the largest convening of its kind bringing together researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs in the field of healthspan science taking place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Global life expectancy has more than doubled in the last 100 years, but the quality of our health as we age has not increased at the same rate. In the U.S. there is currently a 12-year gap between life expectancy and healthy life expectancy, or the period of life free of major chronic disease or disability. Experts at London Business School, Oxford and Harvard suggest that extending just one healthy year of life is worth $38 trillion to the global economy and extending healthy life by 10-years could net greater than $300 trillion. With the world’s population of people over 60 years of age expected to almost double from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050 – or 1 in 5 people – there is an urgent need to find novel solutions for healthy aging.

“People around the world are living longer, but quality of life has not kept pace. By targeting aging with a single or combination of therapeutic treatments, it may be possible to restore function lost to age-related degradation of multiple organ systems,” said Peter H. Diamandis, MD, founder and executive chairman, XPRIZE. “Converging exponential technologies such as AI, epigenetics, gene therapy, cellular medicine, and sensors are allowing us to understand why we age – it’s time to revolutionize the way we age. Working across all sectors, we can democratize health and create a future where healthy aging is accessible for everyone and full of potential.”

“As the single-largest XPRIZE Healthspan funder, Hevolution Foundation is committed to advancing geroscience and reshaping the approach to aging,” said Dr. Mehmood Khan, CEO, Hevolution Foundation, Co-Title Sponsor of XPRIZE Healthspan. “At our core, we are global conveners, demonstrated by our wholehearted support for this vital competition. This initiative serves as yet another illustration of our enduring commitment to transforming aging treatments and championing healthy aging for everyone.”

“​​It does not make any sense to have a long lifespan without being healthy,” said Chip Wilson, founder and chairman of SOLVE FSHD, Co-Title Sponsor of XPRIZE Healthspan. “I am thrilled with thinking that I can be functionally healthy both mentally and physically until the end. Together, XPRIZE and SOLVE FSHD will enable people to discover global solutions.”

“Traditional medicine only treats one disease at a time and only once symptoms appear, without effectively extending human health. By developing therapeutics that target biological aging rather than disease, we can revolutionize the way we think about and treat aging,” said Jamie Justice, Ph.D., Executive Director of XPRIZE Healthspan, XPRIZE. “If these trials are successful, we will demonstrate that it is possible to improve health even as we age.”

XPRIZE Healthspan is the first health-focused competition of its kind, incentivizing competing teams to develop a single or combination of therapeutic treatments that will restore muscle, brain, and immune function lost to age-related degradation by at least 10 years, with a goal of 20 years. Teams will be required to deliver their therapy in 1-year or less in adults aged 65-80 years who are free of major or life-threatening disease and disability. Effectively tackling this challenge will require global collaboration with cross-disciplinary researchers, clinicians, industry leaders, policymakers, trade organizations, and nonprofits to make the outcomes possible and accessible to broader populations.

“As we’ve come to better understand the aging process, it’s become clear that significant improvements in prevention and disease treatments are needed to effectively preserve health as we age,” said Steven N. Austad, PhD, Senior Scientific Director, American Federation of Aging Research (AFAR). “We see unprecedented potential for this field and look forward to the breakthroughs XPRIZE Healthspan can accomplish.” 

A virtual launch program featuring partners of the prize and visionaries in the field of health science will begin live at 10:30am ET and be accessible via livestream at xprize.org/healthspan.

XPRIZE Healthspan is offered with support from Co-Title Sponsors Hevolution Foundation and Chip Wilson, founder and chairman of SOLVE FSHD, in addition to contributions from benefactors including Christian Angermayer, Carl B. Barney, the Blundy Family, Kas Bordier, Peter H. Diamandis, Charlie and Lorie Epstein, the Eleanor and Howard Morgan Family Foundation, Dana and Rob Hamwee, Daniel Krizek, Nancy and Howard Marks, Chris Ouwinga, Christian Peneff, SeneGence, Mark S. Siegel, Todd and Karen Wanek, Sergey Young, and an anonymous donor. Global scientific advisors, including the Scientific Director at National Institute on Aging, Senior Scientific Director at American Federation for Aging Research, Director of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center, and Head of Clinical Medicine at University of Cambridge, have helped inform the prize design and will advise in various capacities throughout the competition.

Register interest to compete, learn more and get involved at xprize.org/healthspan.

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