David Grainger, CEO of Methuselah Health, is a life scientist looking for ways to allow people to live longer.
Methuselah Health is a venture capital-backed company in the emerging longevity space: research into treatments and cures for age-related degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and diabetes.
Unlike others in the space that generally focus on DNA, Methuselah's research homes in on the role of proteins in the aging process.
“Proteins hold promise because they are the components that become most damaged regularly,” Grainger said. “So, if you look at the damage, you can glean information about the cause.”
Methuselah Health is backed by about $5 million in venture capital funding, all of which came from Medicxi, a VC firm that focuses on life sciences, and where Grainger is a partner.
He came upon his interest in life sciences in his late teens when he was preparing to go to college. His father died suddenly at the age of 55 and Grainger “wanted to understand why when others live until 90.”
During his career he helped develop coated stents and started a number of life science companies, one of which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson. He has over 150 patents and patent applications in his name.
“I start companies that are based on promising technologies that can be game changing,” Grainger said.
As for doing it in the longevity space, “It’s the last frontier for life sciences—finding cures for degenerative diseases,” Grainger said. “We have the opportunity to understand these diseases. It’s a wonderful time to be in this field.”
Fast Five with David Grainger
What's the single most important trait for a leader?
Passion. You have to keep people working with you to achieve something important and complex.
What keeps you up at night?
Excitement rather than worry. I see opportunity, not risk.
What do you wish you had known 5 years ago that you know now?
Everything I know now I wish I knew 5 years ago. I would be able to do more amazing things.
What's one tip for motivating employees?
Tell them everything, warts and all, and they will come along with you.
How do you see your industry changing in the next 10 years?
The pharmaceutical industry is going to have to become more efficient (in terms of pricing).