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$101 million effort announced by Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence cover subject philanthropist Anousheh Ansari to drive healthier aging for all
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$101 million effort announced by Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence cover subject philanthropist Anousheh Ansari to drive healthier aging for all

Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence cover subject philanthropist Anousheh Ansari- led XPRIZE, the world’s leader in designing and operating large-scale incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges, 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 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.

XPRIZE is an established global leader in designing, launching, and executing large-scale competitions to solve humanity’s greatest challenges. Our unique model democratizes innovation by incentivizing crowd-sourced, scientifically viable solutions to create a more equitable and abundant future for all.

Founded on the belief that every person has the right to live a longer, healthier life, Hevolution Foundation is a global catalyst, partner, and convener on a mission to drive efforts to extend healthy human lifespan and understand the processes of aging. With a focus on aging as a treatable process, Hevolution Foundation aims to increase the number of aging-related treatments on the market, compress the timeline of drug development, and increase accessibility to therapeutics that extend healthy lifespan, also known as healthspan. A global non-profit organization headquartered in Riyadh with a North American hub and an annual budget of up to $1 billion, Hevolution Foundation plans to open offices in other global locations to support a cutting-edge, global ecosystem of talent to propel aging and geroscience research forward and achieve medical breakthroughs to help humanity live healthier, longer.

SOLVE FSHD is a venture philanthropic organization established to catalyze innovation and accelerate key research in finding a cure for FSHD, established by renowned Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist, Chip Wilson. The Wilson family has committed $100 million to kick-start funding into projects that support the organization’s mission to find a cure for FSHD by 2027. The goal of SOLVE FSHD is to find a solution that can slow down or stop muscle degeneration, increase muscle regeneration and strength, and improve the quality of life for those living with FSHD.

Anousheh Ansari is CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges. Ansari, along with her family, sponsored the organization’s first competition, the Ansari XPRIZE, a $10 million competition that ignited a new era for commercial spaceflight. Since then, she has served on XPRIZE’s Board of Directors.

Prior to being named CEO of XPRIZE, Ansari served as the CEO of Prodea Systems, a leading Internet of Things (IoT) technology firm she co-founded in 2006, and continues to serve as the executive chairwoman. She captured headlines around the world when she embarked upon an 11-day space expedition, accomplishing her childhood dream of becoming the first female private space explorer, first astronaut of Iranian descent, first Muslim woman in space, and fourth private explorer to visit space.

Ansari serves on the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Future Council and has received numerous honors, including the WEF Young Global Leader, Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and STEM Leadership Hall of Fame, among others. She is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador and serves on the board of Jabil and Peace First and several other not-for-profit organizations focused on STEM education and youth empowerment.

Ansari also co-founded The Billion Dollar Fund for Women, which was announced in October 2018 at the Tri Hita Karana (THK) Forum on Sustainable Development in Bali, with a goal of investing $1 billion in women-founded companies by 2020.

She published her memoir, My Dream of Stars, to share her life story as inspiration for young women around the world. Ansari holds a bachelor’s degree in electronics and computer engineering from George Mason University, a master’s degree in electrical engineering from George Washington University; and honorary doctorates from George Mason University, Utah Valley University, and International Space University.

She was the exclusive cover feature of Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence in the Fall of 2019.

Photo: Philanthropist Anousheh Ansari with Lifestyles Magazine/Meaningful Influence founder Gabriel Erem


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