The global population is aging. From the Baby Boomers in the United States, all across the European Union, and even extending to Asian nations like Japan and Singapore, almost everywhere you look
the population group over 60 years old is growing faster than any other age category. This trend has been referred to as the “Silver Tsunami,” and it’s a demographic shift will have significant impacts around the world.
As the populations of wealthy, developed countries age, there will be massive opportunities for investors in the “longevity industry,” which refers to the companies and market sectors focused on prolonging life and increasing quality of life for people as they age.
This article will take a deeper look at different facets of the longevity industry, highlight some of the most promising areas for investors, and discuss how government policies around the world could impact the sector going forward.
What makes up the longevity industry?
The Aging Analytics Agency has predicted that the global longevity industry as whole will have a market capitalization of around $27 trillion by 2026
, up from $17 trillion in 2019. Several different sub-sectors make up the larger longevity field, including biotechnology, P4 medicine, and Age Tech. Each of these individual industries is substantial on its own, and each present their own growth and investment opportunities
The field that occurs to most people when they first think about the longevity industry is biotechnology. Medical advances help us live longer and healthier lives, and at the frontiers of medicine we have emerging technologies like stem cell therapy, senolytics, and “young” blood transfusions that hold promise for helping to delay aging and mitigate its negative effects.
The global biotech market is massive and one estimate from Grand View Research
projects that it will reach $2.88 trillion by 2028. Investing News
identifies Merck as the largest single biotech company, with a market capitalization of nearly $200 billion. Pfizer is a close second with a market cap of $191.7 billion – and that figure was before
the New York-based company produced one of the most successful COVID-19 vaccines.
The growing field of biotechnology is an extremely active area for investment for both individuals and firms. For example, in 2021 the “company creation engine” Illumina Accelerator
invested in nine new genomics companies, split between the U.S. and the UK – and that’s just one of a number of investment agencies promoting and looking to capitalize on the biotechnology market.
While biotech focuses on emerging technologies and treatments, the term “P4 medicine” refers to a shift in how health care is currently applied. P4 medicine is p
ersonalized, and p
articipatory. As described by Providence Health
, P4 medicine is a new way of looking at health care. It uses techniques like genetic testing to identify health risks before they manifest, implementing preventative treatments early on, and providing patients with ample data about their own health so they are better able to make decisions about it.
Though P4 medicine as a practice can be appealing to patients of all ages, it becomes more relevant as people live longer, and age-related conditions like Alzheimer’s become critical health concerns for more of the population.
Many of the hottest longevity industry companies
fall into the P4 medicine category, and investors would be wise to keep a close eye on them. Companies to watch include Leucadia Therapeutics
(currently in the seed funding stage
), which is developing ways to predict who will get Alzheimer’s and begin treating the disease before cognitive impairment develops, and Insilico Medicine
(at the later stages of VC funding
), which uses AI to speed up the development of new specialized drugs, and has already had success treating lung conditions
that affect the elderly.
As explained by Dominic Endicott in an interview with Forbes
, “Age Tech” refers to the collection of technologies that will become more relevant as the population ages. One prominent example of Age Tech is PillPack, a company now owned by Amazon that delivers medications in packaging designed to avoid dosage errors, while the site “The Gerontechnologist” has a fantastic interactive map
of companies in the Age Tech industry, updated for 2021.
While biotechnology and P4 medicine focus on helping people live longer and healthier lives, Age Tech involves all the particular needs of an aging population, from senior living to “Retirement 2.0” planning. Since Age Tech can encompass so many individual industries, the size of the total market can be difficult to define. In his Forbes interview, Dominic Endicott projects the value of the Age Tech market could reach $2.7 trillion by 2025, with the global industry growing around 21% annually.
How do government policies impact the longevity industry?
The aging of the global population is more than just a business opportunity. It’s a massive demographic change impacting billions of people worldwide and as such it’s a concern for the major governments of the world. Many countries are taking steps to support the health and wellbeing of their aging populations through laws and national investments that send ripple effects through the longevity industry.
As covered by Margaretta Colangelo and Dmitry Kaminskiy
of Longevity.Capital, the UK was the “first country to officially implement P4 medicine into its national healthcare system” in 2019, which was good news for early investors in the P4 industry in that nation. The European Union as a whole promoted and invested in longevity technology
as part of its multi-year Horizon 2020 program (replaced by Horizon Europe
In the United States, California ranks as one of the most appealing locations for longevity-related companies according to the Aging Analytics Agency
, thanks to its extensive university system and public policies supporting the life sciences industry, including tax incentives and state-sponsored initiatives. The U.S. government and military have also been investing in biotechnology for years
through initiatives like DRIVe
, which is run by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Capitalizing on an aging world
As we’ve shown, there are opportunities throughout the global longevity industry as it progresses towards its projected market cap of $27 trillion in 2026
. The biotech, P4 medicine, and Age Tech fields have all demonstrated growth over the past decade that shows no signs of slowing down. The financial power of people aged 60 and older is increasing at a steady pace, leading Margaretta Colangelo to say in Forbes
that the “Longevity industry will dwarf all other industries in both size and market capitalization” in the years to come.
As health technology advances and birth rates in much of the world continue to decline, the “Silver Tsunami” of the aging global population is inevitable. Investors are watching closely and making moves into the sectors most likely to benefit from this demographic shift. Investment firms, startup companies and national governments all have roles to play in developing a future where people live longer lives, stay healthier, and enjoy technology that caters to their needs.
Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority – BARDA DRIVe: Current Programs
Grand View Research (2021): Biotechnology Market Size Worth $2.44 Trillion By 2028 | CAGR 15.83%
Keren Etkin (2021): 2021 Age Tech Market Map | The Gerontechnologist
Longevity Industry in California