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Extend Your Dog’s Lifespan with a Supplement: Would You Consider It?

The CEO and originator of Loyal, a firm that is dedicated to developing medications to enhance the lifespan of dogs, joins Derek to elucidate their approach to decelerating the aging progression.

Regarding the deceleration of the aging process and the remarkable success achieved by a biotech enterprise in the realm of canines, a noteworthy milestone was reported by The New York Times last November. Loyal, the company in question, has made significant strides in formulating safe life-prolonging drugs for our beloved pets. Particularly, the drug known as LOY-1 is designed to impede the aging process in larger dog breeds. However, the implications of Loyal’s endeavors extend far beyond just prolonging the lives of dogs; it has the potential to unravel some of the enigmas surrounding mammalian aging, thereby paving the way for breakthroughs that could extend human lifespans.

Our guest for today is Celine Halioua, the CEO and visionary behind Loyal. In this discussion, we delve into her journey as a female entrepreneur in the biotechnology sector, the peculiar economics of pharmaceuticals, the ethical considerations surrounding life extension, the scientific rationale behind the premature mortality of large dogs, her strategies for retarding the aging process in dogs of all sizes, and the prospects of incidental benefits for humans seeking additional quality time with their loved ones.

In the ensuing dialogue between Celine Halioua and Derek, they explore the challenges confronting the life-extension industry and the rationale behind Halioua’s decision to prioritize canine research.

Derek Thompson: Let’s kick off our conversation by focusing on dogs, life extension, and your personal journey. Prior to establishing Loyal, what path had you been treading?

Celine Halioua: Interestingly, the notion of launching a company had never crossed my mind. There was no childhood entrepreneurial venture or clandestine strategy to conceive an idea that would culminate in building a company and securing substantial venture capital. My foray into this domain stemmed from a fundamental question: “How can we enhance human autonomy?” I firmly believe that diseases, particularly age-related ailments, significantly impede individual freedom. The realization that numerous age-related conditions lack effective treatments, regardless of the resources or efforts invested, prompted my interest in this field. After spending several years immersed in biological research and lab work, including experimentation with mice, I pursued studies at Oxford before eventually joining Laura Deming at the Longevity Fund. It was during my tenure there that the concept for Loyal crystallized, along with a strong conviction that I could bring it to fruition.

Thompson: There seems to be a prevalent skepticism surrounding life extension, with many viewing it as dubious territory characterized by unfulfilled promises and charismatic figures peddling unrealistic longevity claims. How challenging has it been to garner credibility for a project like yours, especially in the eyes of potential investors and skeptics alike?

Halioua: The field of life extension has indeed attracted substantial investment and interest over the years. However, it is essential to acknowledge the prevalence of grandiose assertions that often fail to materialize, thereby casting doubt on the entire field. This concern has been a central focus for me, as I am acutely aware that any setbacks in our endeavors could tarnish the field’s reputation. While we have made significant strides and adhered to rigorous standards, we are now entering a phase where scrutiny intensifies. Unlike other therapeutic areas where failures do not undermine the overarching legitimacy of the field, setbacks in longevity research can have far-reaching implications. This awareness has been a driving force behind our commitment to upholding the highest standards of research integrity and regulatory compliance. By pursuing FDA approval and conducting our studies in alignment with the most stringent protocols, we aim to establish our credibility and demonstrate that longevity research is grounded in scientific rigor, akin to conventional pharmaceutical development.

Thompson: Why the focus on dogs as the initial target for your research?

Halioua: The decision to commence our research with dogs was multifaceted. Firstly, my profound affinity for dogs played a pivotal role in this choice. As I find myself surrounded by senior street dogs at this moment, the temptation to adopt one is quite strong. From a logistical standpoint, demonstrating the efficacy of a life-prolonging drug necessitates extensive clinical trials, including placebo-controlled studies to validate its impact on lifespan. In humans, this process could span a decade or more, given the extended lifespan of even the oldest individuals. Conversely, dogs offer a more expedited path to assessing biological aging through objective biomarkers, with observable results within six months and conclusive lifespan extension within three to five years. This accelerated timeline not only facilitates quicker validation of our interventions but also addresses a critical market need. While our primary focus remains on enhancing canine longevity, this strategic approach sets the stage for potential advancements in human longevity research down the line.