How did we successfully evolve from a start-up to an award-winning industry leader within a few years? Among others, it was thanks to graduate engineer Herbert Pock, one of our Managing Directors and co-founder of Longevity Labs+. Today, we’re lifting the veil for you again and have asked him for an interview.
What was your life like before Longevity Labs+? What did you do?
I originally have a scientific background. I studied mechanical engineering and business in Graz and worked as a business consultant—mostly for innovative, technology-oriented companies. In other words, I spent 20 years putting the research results of universities into practice to create products that are successful in the market.
How was Longevity Labs+ founded then?
I got to know Professor Madeo and his spermidine research during my work. I found it extremely exciting and tried to support him. I developed a concept with him to build a company around spermidine. My role at Longevity Labs+ is primarily that I’m a co-founder and have now taken on the role of Managing Director to implement this strategic path together with Professor Madeo.
The strategic path? What exactly does that mean?
Strategic implementation naturally affects very many areas of a company. First, we have to carefully consider in what form to offer the product in the market. The strategy also includes all aspects of marketing and sales. That means, finding the right avenues to reach the customer. Since we have a very scientific product into which we invested a lot of research and development, we purposely decided to distribute it exclusively via pharmacies to remain close to the pharmaceutical market.
And within the company?
Aside from sales aspects, there is of course the whole organizational structure of the company, company strategy, finding and management of personnel, so that everyone is motivated. And of course, all financing-related activities. That means that we have enough capital to carry out our plans accordingly.
Why the substance spermidine—after all, you have worked with many research results?
The exciting thing is that as humans, we all try to age as healthily as possible—both in Austria and worldwide. Dealing with our own health, well-being, and the aging process is a direct need. I recognized that there was very much scientific substance to Mr. Madeo’s research. Spermidine is one of the few substances that have been scientifically studied so well that we can say with credibility that this substance can provide support for healthy aging.
What was your motivation to develop spermidineLIFE®?
Well, it would have been a pity if these research findings hadn’t been made available to people, so that all consumers can profit. And this was the main motivation for Professor Madeo and me, and naturally for our investor Dr. Androsch as well, for whom healthy aging is a personal concern. It’s also satisfying to study a topic that can not only support one’s own well-being, but also the well-being of a much wider population.
How important was the entry of investor Dr. Hannes Androsch?
Financial resources are necessary to professionally establish a new company, especially for a university spin-off—where there is a long way from research to the final product. Additionally, we were able to make use of the knowledge that Dr. Androsch gained as an entrepreneur. He is very experienced in the development of new ideas and companies. Aside from his kindhearted personality, which makes working with him a pleasure, being able to utilize this experience has been extremely valuable for us.
What were other important milestones in the company’s history?
What is most important for building a company are the employees. The crucial milestone was that we found an extremely good, motivated, dynamic team that identify with this idea and the company’s goals. Everyone comes in every day to serve this good cause that we just described.
How are they motivated?
On the one hand, by prizes that we won and that were awarded by those who are affected and not by a committee. On the other hand, by reports from consumers that told us many stories, some heart-wrenching, about how the product has helped them. We saw from them how their situation improved by taking spermidine. Those are the points that motivate us for our daily work and give us a very strong team spirit.
What distinguishes spermidineLIFE® and spermidineLIFE® Immune?
First, we try to work naturally. We work with a natural substance that is in all of our bodies and that we obtain from natural resources. We support natural processes. This basic approach is very positive for me. Second, we are understanding the autophagy mechanism better and better—a Nobel Prize was awarded for this in 2016—and spermidine has the ability to support the natural self-cleaning process of our cells.
How are scientific standards ensured at Longevity Labs+?
On many levels. For one thing, our company and all products originated from a very close cooperation with the University of Graz and Professor Madeo’s workgroup; moreover, we ourselves are investing in clinical studies with all of the extracts. We make our wheat germ extract available to scientific institutions so they can carry out studies with them—from sleep research to immune system studies and cognitive abilities.
Where does the Scientific Advisory Board come in?
That’s the third aspect. Thanks to our scientific standards, we were able to reach top researchers—such as Professor Krömer, the most widely-cited oncologist in Europe and Professor Galluzzi, one of the most frequently cited young researchers in the USA. They offer us access to findings in cell research and spermidine, and participate in Advisory Board meetings. In those meetings, we develop strategies for product improvement, product development, and our own scientific research.
New developments? What exactly are you working on?
We are working on different topics. One is raising the spermidine concentration of our products. We are, however, proceeding very carefully because we always ensure that higher concentrations have an effect—we don’t increase the concentration just because it is technically possible.
Can your customers look forward to any novelties in 2021?
As I said before, researchers worldwide are working on indications that spermidine may be able to influence. We have cells in every area of our body—in the brain, heart, and joints. Accordingly, we are studying if spermidine can influence their cell cleaning process and are working on specific products. With spermidineLIFE® Immune we already launched a product to primarily strengthen our immune cells. However, we are also working in the cardiovascular area: everything involving the heart, brain—that is, cognitive abilities—, and other substances that are relevant in supporting healthy aging.
Are there particular research areas that you are personally interested in?
I believe that disease prevention is something we will study intensively in the future—which is also the guiding theme of Longevity Labs+. Dealing with health and prevention possibilities much earlier in order to prevent illness in the first place is only now becoming an integral part of medicine. Another field that I’m following is digital medicine—the use of digital data, new infrastructure, and artificial intelligence. I believe that our health awareness and our access to medicine will change us as consumers.
What do you think, will future generations become much older?
I’m not a medical professional, but some things are pointing towards that, such as paying attention to prevention. This especially affects two kinds of diseases: cardiovascular disease and cancer. I believe that medical treatment in these areas will become more successful. From my perspective, it must be assumed that the generation of our children’s children can certainly attain a lifespan of over 100 years, which is a massive leap compared with only a few generations ago.
What tips do you have to keep us young?
Why, you can live however you want. Just make sure you’re taking spermidine. (Laughs) No, all jokes aside. I think we all know what we can do: exercise, because exercise is good for us all. Or keep looking for new challenges and make sure that positive adrenaline is secreted thanks to living a joyful life, rather than negative adrenaline due to stress. What is more, I consider being active when older, whether it be physical or mental, to be one of the major supporting measures that we can all include in our lives one way or another.
Thank you for the interview!