Living to 150 will revolutionise markets

Christopher Joye

In my AFR column I interview Harvard geneticist David Sinclair about his transformational new research that is literally reversing the ageing process through repairing DNA. which he argues will extend life expectancies to more than 150 years, creating the third revolution in medicine after vaccines and antibiotics, and have profound consequences for markets by radically reducing public healthcare spending on ageing, improving budgets, and boosting growth (click on that link to read for free or AFR subs can use the direct link here). Excerpt below:

"Based on his breakthroughs, Sinclair believes "the first person to live to 150 has already been born" and that we could see overall life expectancies jump "by 10 to 20 years". "As a result of technology advances, we are getting several weeks of extra life every year that we live," says Sinclair, who is a professor at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging. "We are about to experience a leap in this to many months and perhaps eventually a year." In a critical research finding unveiled in the prestigious Science journal in March last year, Sinclair's team discovered that they could accelerate DNA repair and literally reverse the biological ageing process, transforming a mouse aged 2.5 years to just a few months old. While our cells naturally repair DNA damage through, say, exposure to the sun's radiation, this capacity atrophies over time. "This is the closest we are to a safe and effective anti-ageing drug that's perhaps only three to five years away from being on the market if the trials go well," Sinclair commented in a release reviewing the research...Sinclair complains that "nobody really regards ageing as a disease, but it is". "Just because dying is common, it does not make it acceptable and I very much hope the Australian government realises that this silly classification adversely affects every person." Phase 1 human trials for his drug are almost complete and Sinclair reveals that he has been inundated with requests from people all around the world to capitalise on his life-elongating elixir. Sinclair himself ingests the molecules and reckons his biological age has shrunk from 57 to 31 years. His 78-year-old father, a biochemist who was originally "sceptical" of the solution, is "physically in his 30s, going out every night, climbing mountains and starting a second career" after using it. Can I have a go? The implications for the economy and markets are potentially profound. If we all live 20 years longer and significantly extend the productivity and duration of our working careers, populations, aggregate demand, and economic growth will explode beyond current forecasts. Escalating healthcare costs, which are meant to force the government into producing perpetual budget deficits as the community ages, could be radically reduced. If there are fewer people dying, there will also be less available housing supply, which could push property prices up much higher. In its latest batch of population projections, the ABS assumes life expectancy improvements – which since 1982 have averaged about 0.27 years for every 12 months that passes – increase by on average 0.12 years or 0.25 years, between 2016 and 2061, in its "medium" and "high" cases. That is, it conservatively presumes longevity improvements decline from the historical experience. My analysis suggests that lifting the annual life expectancy increment from 0.27 years since 1982 to, say, 0.5 years between 2016 and 2061 – which implies that by the end of this horizon we will be living 22.5 years longer than we were at the start – would mean an extra circa 6 million Australian residents. We are already slated for huge population increases – around 42 million people by 2061 from 25 million presently – but this could be much closer to 50 million than we think. The knock-on consequences for infrastructure spending and the way we manage urban development are immense. We currently have about five million residents in greater Sydney. Within 43 years, or most readers' lives, this will leap to 8.5 million people in the ABS's base case. If we then bake in a superior 0.5 year annual longevity increase, we are talking about 9.7 million dwellers, or almost double our current population..." Read the rest of the article here.


About this contributor

Christopher Joye

Christopher Joye

Portfolio Manager, Coolabah Capital Investments

Christopher Joye is Co-Chief Investment Officer of Coolabah Capital Investments, which is a leading active credit manager that runs over $2.2 billion in short-term fixed-income strategies. He is also a Contributing Editor with The AFR.

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Robert Hadley

Amazing story. I wonder who will distribute that drug. Definitely the next growth stock!!

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