The Kitalys Institute's original organizer is Kinexum, a strategic advisory firm that provides regulatory and clinical development guidance for life science product development. Kinexum's founder and Executive Chairman is G. Alexander ("Zan") Fleming, M.D. Dr. Fleming is an endocrinologist who led the medical reviews at the U.S. FDA that resulted in approval, among others, of metformin and the first statin, insulin analogue, PPAR agonist, and growth hormone for non-growth hormone deficiency conditions.
During his tenure at the FDA, Dr. Fleming had an epiphany that emerging geroscience held out the prospect of preventing or delaying chronic diseases by delaying or even reversing biological aging. He recognized the efficacy of moving from a focus on individual diseases to one that considers all the common causes of aging. The frailty, chronic illness, and morbidity that aging itself usually brings could be prevented if such a shift were made.
Around 2013, Dr. Fleming 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. Today Metabesity is a recognized geroscience term, cited in dozens of articles and soon to have its own Wikipedia entry.
In 2017, Dr. Fleming and Professor Lawrence Steinman, the former long-time head of the immunology department at Stanford University and co-discoverer of the M.S. drug Tysabri, organized the inaugural Targeting Metabsity conference in London 2017.
This Conference brought together what Alex Zhavoronkov, CEO of A.I. leader InSilico Medicine, characterized in Forbes as a “staggering” set of speakers,1 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, “3 was held in Washington, DC in 2019. A stellar speaker’s roster 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.
In early 2020, Kinexum began to plan for the formation of a non-profit entity to take on the pro bono activities of Kinexum regarding the Metabesity conferences and related webinars, Project Healthspan, and similar activities. Adriane Berg was recruited as an independent contractor and commenced in March to help with the Institute’s formation and the organization of the Metabesity 2020 conference.
The Kitalys Institute was incorporated as a Virginia not-for-profit corporation in June. The Institute is finalizing its application for IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status.
The Kitalys Institute Co-Produced with Kinexum the most recent edition of the Targeting Metabesity 2020 Conference. Held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic in October 2020, the Conference was broadcast live from Harpers Ferry, WV, and attracted about 1,000 registrants from around the globe.
In addition to the usual stellar collection of scientists, doctors, and representatives of large and emerging companies and capital markets, speakers included the President of the National Academy of Medicine, the Scientific Director of the National Institute on Aging, the Director of the FDA Office of New Drugs, two members of Congress, a member of the U.K. House of Lords Chair of the U.K. All-Party Parliamentary Group for Longevity, Strategic Advisory Group, and several best-selling authors. Also, a new Day 4 was dedicated to an Emerging Company Showcase that featured corporate presentations by two dozen hot emerging ‘metabesic’ companies, with breakout sessions.
The Kitalys Institute has partnered with Community Builders, Redstring, to create an online Campus for silo breaking, education, and continuing collaboration.
Current Priorities of the Kitalys Institute
• Following up Metabesity 2020 and organizing Metabesity 2021
• Organizing other Healthy Longevity and Healthspan educational events
• Pursuing Project Healthspan with the new Congress in 2021
• Pursuing Project Endpoints, building on discussions Kinexum has had with high-ranking FDA officials such as Janet Woodcock, Bob Temple, and Peter Stein, to clarify regulatory pathways for healthspan interventions, e.g., through new endpoints, new biomarkers/surrogate markers, and even a new Center or Office for interventions targeting biological aging
• Launching the Kitalys Institute Online Campus for building collaborations among a committed global community and ecosystem for the actions necessary to realize the ‘healthy longevity dividend.