The Kitalys Institute Mission
The mission of the Kitalys Institute is to accelerate and promote the translation of scientific advances into material, accessible gains in public health.
Scientific advances are being made at an ever-increasing pace. Barriers to their speedy adoption to improve public health include uncertainty in regulation and policy, misalignment of incentives, lack of knowledge and coordination across necessary disciplines and incomplete education and public debate about such advances, their translation and their societal implications.
Institute principles in pursuit of our mission include:
- Proceeding in an evidence-backed manner based on best science
- Casting the net widely as to modality, whether drugs, biologics, advanced therapies, devices (including diagnostics and digital tools for cognitive behavioral modification), nutritional supplementation, exercise, stress reduction, environments for aging, monitoring, socialization, and/or other approaches
- Focusing on application and translation, not just increasing knowledge
- Introducing and promoting a broad, ‘silo-busting,' interdisciplinary approach to addressing the barriers and challenges
- Stressing translation that materially moves the needle in terms of public health, and
- Achieving wide and equitable access to the resulting public health benefits.
Principles in Pursuit of Our Mission
Activities in Pursuit of Our Mission
The Institute will carry out its mission through activities such as:
Organizing conferences, webcasts, courses, online communities, publications and similar vehicles for the identification of issues, debate and exchange of views, and delivery of solutions to the relevant fields, policy makers and the public;
Conducting or funding research, issuing or commissioning white papers, establishing prizes and engaging in other activities of a ‘think tank’ to support, elucidate, recognize, publicize and educate;
Collaborating in partnership with individuals and other institutions and entities in furtherance of its aims and activities;
Fundraising and expending moneys in support of its objectives; and
Carrying out such other activities in support of its mission as are consistent with its status as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit institute.
The catalyst for the formation of the Institute is the emergence of geroscience in recent decades that holds the promise of preventing or delaying chronic diseases by delaying or even reversing biological aging.
Examples of translational barriers include: (i) lack of a clear regulatory pathway for approval of therapeutic interventions; (ii) the need for clinical trials that are too large and last too long to attract funding to demonstrate prevention or delay of chronic diseases; and (iii) misalignment of incentives for a payer to reimburse an intervention today that might only benefit another reimburser years later.
Such issues have been the focus of the Targeting Metabesity conferences in London in 2017 and Washington, DC in 2019. A major early initiative of the Institute will be to take over organization of this conference in 2020 and beyond, and to publicize the translation of emerging geroscience in recent decades into healthy longevity for the public as one of the most important challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
Other Institute initiatives will be identified and adopted as it gains funding and capabilities.
The Impetus to Our Formation
The Kitalyst Institute Provenance
The organizer of The Kitalys Institute, Kinexum, is a strategic advisory firm that provides regulatory and clinical development guidance for life science product development. Kinexum’s founder, G. Alexander (“Zan”) Fleming, M.D., an endocrinologist trained at Emory, Vanderbilt and the NIH, led the medical reviews at the U.S. FDA that resulted in approval, among others, of metformin, as well as the first statin, insulin analogue, PPAR agonist and growth hormone for non-growth hormone deficiency conditions.
Several years ago, Zan coined a term, “metabesity," to refer to a constellation of chronic diseases of aging (including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases, cancer and the aging process itself) that have common metabolic roots, and thus may be susceptible to common solutions. He had an epiphany that emerging geroscience held out the prospect of preventing or delaying chronic diseases by delaying or even reversing biological aging.
Together with Professor Lawrence Steinman, former long-time head of the immunology department at Stanford and co-discoverer of Tysabri, Zan organized the inaugural Targeting Metabsity conference in London in 2017. This conference brought together a remarkable set of speakers, including Oxford professors on the boards of Roche and the Novo Nordisk Foundation, Chair of the Nobel Assembly that selects the Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, Deputy Chief Executive of UK NICE, CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, and CMO of the CMS under the Obama Administration.
The second Metabesity conference, called by Margaretta Colangelo of Deep Knowledge Ventures “one of the most important longevity conferences of the year," was held in Washington, DC in 2019, with a stellar speakers roster that included Richard Hodes, Director of the National Institute on Aging, Gary Gibbons, Director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Janet Woodcock, Director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research at FDA, Susan Mayne, Director of the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at FDA, and leaders from geroscience, diabetes, cancer, nutrition, exercise, large and emerging companies, connectivity and loneliness, longevity venture capitalists and other stakeholders.
The 2020 Metabesity conference is planned for October 12-14, 2020, as a virtual conference.
Kinexum is also a founder of Project Healthspan, in which a pro bono consortium consisting of the American Federation for Aging Research, the Gerontological Society of America, the Academy of Health and Lifespan Research and others are seeking federal legislation to prioritize and promote the development of interventions for extending healthspan.
In contrast to a variety of foci among players in the healthy longevity space, Kinexum's 'lane' is trying to accelerate the translation of geroscience into material, equitable gains in public health, specifically the prevention or delay of chronic diseases. We identify and organize interdisciplinary ('silo-busting') efforts to remove or reduce obstacles to translation, such as the lack of a clear regulatory pathway for anti-aging therapeutic and preventative interventions, the practical difficulties of large, long-term clinical trials to demonstrate prevention, and the misalignment (among non-single payer systems) of incentives for payers to pay be interventions today that may only benefit someone decades after, when (s)he may be covered by another payer.
This spring of 2020, Kinexum decided to form the not-for-profit The Kitalys Institute to take over responsibility for organizing the Metabesity conferences and related events, Project Healthspan, and other initiatives to translate emerging science into material, accessible gains in public health.
We are at the cusp of a decade(s)-long moonshot, where it’s becoming less a question of ‘if’, but ‘when,' geroscience enables us to slow, or even reverse, biological aging, and thereby prevent or delay most chronic diseases. If so, we must also be prepared for changes in the environments for aging as they demand new solutions and thought leadership.
We believe that The Kitalys Institute could play a leading role in catalyzing this critical translation in the greatest healthcare challenge and opportunity of this 21st century.