We have more than doubled the global life expectancy in the last 100 years, but the length of our healthy lives has not increased at the same rate. There’s currently a 12-year gap between U.S. life expectancy and health expectancy, meaning people are living longer, but spend a longer period of late life in poorer health..
Before 2050, the world's population over 60 years old is expected to almost double from 12% to 22% – creating urgency to find novel solutions for healthy aging. We believe XPRIZE’s unique approach can incentivize necessary breakthroughs to extend healthspan and change the way we experience aging for everyone.
Our model has proven time and again to be successful in rapidly advancing discoveries and technologies in areas that have been traditionally slow to develop, so we’re confident that XPRIZE Healthspan can be effective.
Our advisors and prize design committee members include experts from the pinnacle of the healthspan field and we are engaging advisors, partners and supporters from across public and private institutions, advocacy groups, and policy makers.
We actively invite those with an interest in aging, science, policy, and innovations to reach out; more opportunities for global partnerships and alignment exist.
While we haven’t hosted a competition focused on Healthspan or extending quality of life, we have done previous work in our Health domain on diagnosing medical conditions and developing health sensing technologies.
The Qualcomm Tricorder XPRIZE (2017) was a $10 million global competition to incentivize the development of innovative technologies capable of accurately diagnosing a set of 13 medical conditions independent of a healthcare professional or facility, ability to continuously measure 5 vital signs, and have a positive consumer experience.
The $2.25 million Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE (2015) aimed to stimulate the development of a new generation of health sensors and sensing technologies that can drastically improve the quality, accuracy and ease of monitoring a person’s health. Improvements in these technologies will empower individuals to effortlessly monitor and collect their own real-time health data, providing both consumers and healthcare providers convenient access to critical information whenever and wherever they need it.
A major differentiating factor for Healthspan is its focus on health and quality of life, not longevity. People are already living longer - the issue we’re addressing is the fact that health degrades significantly in our later years.
XPRIZE is also committed to accelerating scientific advancements for which commercial incentives are lacking. This includes the development of easily provable biomarkers of aging, accepted by scientists and policymakers alike.
We are also working to ensure that the treatment developed is widely accessible to a general population. Many longevity treatments we hear about today are prohibitively expensive for most people, or require extensive tests and procedures.
There’s an important distinction between healthspan and lifespan. Healthspan refers to the period of life spent in good health, free from the chronic diseases and disabilities of aging. It emphasizes the quality of life lived, rather than just the duration. In contrast, lifespan is the total duration of an individual's life, regardless of their health condition. While lifespan denotes the years lived, healthspan underscores the years lived healthily and actively.
There is little downside to extending healthspan for our already aging older adult population. With the longer lives we already have, our global populations are confronting financial stability, retirement pensions and retirement age uncertainty, marginalization and discrimination against older adults, and limited resources. Extending healthspan within the years we live will alleviate many of these concerns.
We must also prepare for the risk that solutions that extend healthspan will also further extend lifespan. We will host dedicated conversations about issues of societal role and burden, and resource utilization at our public meetings and team summits. We will also proactively engage our extensive global networks.
With every benefit there is a potential risk and we will use this competition to hold thoughtful and balanced discussions about ways to sustainably and equitably improve health and wellbeing.
A cost-effective therapeutic that restores muscle, cognition, and immune function by a minimum of 10 years, with a goal of 20 years, in persons aged 65-80 within 12 or fewer months of treatment.
In order to be effective, this treatment needs to be equitably accessible - that’s why we’re working with Reagan-Udall Foundation of the FDA - which we hope to extend internationally - to ensure pathways are created to ensure the treatment is safe and effective, then ideally services and therapeutics to support aging could be covered by Medicare and potentially reimbursable.
This prize is not designed to increase human lifespan or evade death.
Aging and death are a natural part of the human experience. What we hope to change with this prize is the expectation that pain and chronic disease are part of aging; that you’ll need to spend more on healthcare expenses as you age.
The finalist teams competing for XPRIZE Healthspan will conduct 1-year clinical trials. These trials will include persons who are aged 65-80 years who are generally healthy and free of major chronic disease or disability but who are experiencing mild age-related declines in function. For example, slowing walk speed, ability to rise from a chair, or mild changes in memory or cognition. The specific criteria are based on data from multiple sources, and indicate higher risk for future mobility disability, Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, and multiple age-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Our finalists will need to include representative clinical trial participants that include a balance of both men and women, and are reflective of the demographics of their region, including racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic diversity. Read our Competition Guidelines for more information.
Our teams are ultimately responsible for recruiting and operating their own clinical trials, using our common framework, protocols, data management system, and reporting structures. They will obtain their own regulatory approvals, medical oversights, and will be responsible for enrolling and randomizing research participants. Most Clinical Centers are likely to encourage anyone to volunteer or undergo screening to participate in a trial. XPRIZE can provide a clinical trial volunteer registry list to help interested persons identify Competing Teams and Clinical Centers in their region.
The competition is designed to incentivize the development and testing of novel therapeutic solutions. This refers to drugs, biologics, devices, nutritional supplements, dietary intervention approaches, or other - alone or in combination.
The drugs could be new medicines or “repurposed” drugs that are already approved for use to prevent or treat other chronic conditions, like statins, anti-diabetes drugs such as metformin, chemotherapeutics like dasatinib, or drugs used for Alzheimer’s disease prevention. Teams will be encouraged to submit novel solutions not listed above and to consider the best approach to delivery and promote adherence in older adults. Read more in our Competition Guidelines.
We anticipate competitors from biotechnology companies, academic investigators, research networks and institutes, from within and beyond the field of aging and geroscience.
The next breakthrough in aging could come from anyone anywhere, and our aim is to connect teams and foster a global network by working together across disciplines and experiences to improve healthy aging in our lifetime.
Teams can originate from any nation or combination of nationalities. Teams can take the form of a for-profit corporation, a non-profit or academic institution. No government entities are allowed to register. A winning idea can come from anywhere and anyone.
If you’d like to get involved with the competition, or if you have any questions, please email us at [email protected].