November 19 2019

Elysium Keeps Healthy People Healthy; That's Why We Teamed up with Them

We are excited to announce our partnership with Elysium Health and our shared commitment to innovation. The alliance aims to support travelers by offering an option for better health especially while going through different timezones, touring cities the world over, and dancing through the night in them. Before the release, we met with Elysium Health CEO, Eric Marcotulli and chief scientist, Dr. Leonard Guarente to discover all those ingredients that makes Elysium so amazing...

Just give me an overall summary of Elysium...

Eric Marcotulli, Elysium CEO: Elysium's mission is to solve the biggest challenges in health with science. We work directly with the world’s leading scientists and clinicians to translate significant scientific advancements into accessible products for consumers.

What are the benefits?

Dr. Leonard Guarente, Elysium chief scientist and leading aging researcher at MIT: While customers do report benefits that they associate with taking Basis, it wasn't necessarily the primary goal when we developed this product. Basis was designed to increase NAD+, which declines as we age and also results in a decline in the activity of the seven human sirtuin genes. Sirtuins play a critical role in many key cellular functions, so critical in fact that in the scientific field they’re often referred to as the “guardians of the genome.” Basis has one ingredient that activates sirtuins by increasing NAD+ levels and a second that independently activates sirtuins. The health benefits associated with increasing NAD+ levels are still being studied, but Basis has been clinically shown to increase and sustain NAD+ levels in humans when taken daily.

Eric Marcotulli and Dr. Leonard Guarente
Eric Marcotulli and Dr. Leonard Guarente
Eric Marcotulli and Dr. Leonard Guarente

What’s the active ingredient?

Dr. Leonard Guarente: As I said, we designed Basis to activate sirtuins by including two different ingredients. The first, nicotinamide riboside (NR), is a member of the vitamin B3 family and it's an NAD+ precursor that cells take up and convert into NAD+, which increases NAD+ in cells and activates the seven sirtuins. The second ingredient is pterostilbene (PT), which is a polyphenol that is naturally found in blueberries and specifically activates the major sirtuin, sirtuin1.

The saying “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” is kind of the opposite of your mission. Can you tell me about the idea of keeping healthy people healthy?

Dr. Leonard Guarente: It's interesting that you asked the question that way. Aging doesn't happen all at once, it's not as if you wake up one day having come down with aging in the way you would a cold. For that reason, our health doesn't deteriorate all at once, it happens over time and it begins at the cellular level with breakdowns in processes that help keep us healthy. This means that to support health you need to try to maintain these processes long before you notice the surface signs of aging. With aging as the greatest risk factor for all major chronic conditions, by the time you notice that something is "broken" it's probably too late.

Eric Marcotulli: At Elysium, it's our belief that we're not doing enough to keep healthy people healthy—it’s why we’re focused on exploring compelling scientific advancements that have the potential to benefit everyone.

"At the time, we thought that the combination of the two ingredients was a novel strategy that would be important to the efficacy of Basis, but I don’t think any of us really understood the potential synergy of the two ingredients." - Eric Marcotulli

What processes have you gone through from initial concept to final product?

Eric Marcotulli: Basis is really the productization of nearly 30 years of Lenny’s research into sirtuins and NAD+, so we began the development process by reviewing his work. From there, we looked for natural small molecules that could accomplish both the repletion of NAD+ and activation of sirtuins. At the time, we thought that the combination of the two ingredients was a novel strategy that would be important to the efficacy of Basis, but I don’t think any of us really understood the potential synergy of the two ingredients. I’m looking forward to 2020 when we can share new clinical data that further demonstrates the effectiveness of Basis and the unique synergistic effect of NR and PT.

Once we decided on nicotinamide riboside and pterostilbene as the ingredients in Basis, the next challenge was developing the supply chain. With our mission to bring the benefits of advancements in scientific research to everyone, we employ the best practices of pharma - rigorous clinical trials and the highest quality ingredients possible - in combination with a go-to-market strategy that is focused on prevention and supporting health and wellness. Over the years, we’ve invested heavily in establishing a supply chain that allows us to produce Basis at scale and exceed industry standards for purity and quality.

For Elysium, the final piece of product development is to conduct rigorous clinical trials that demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the finished product. This component is of course ongoing, but that’s reflective of our approach to product development overall. Elysium is committed to evolving and refining our products as new data emerges and the science advances—by exploring new delivery methods or formulations and synergistic compounds, which will also be accompanied by rigorous testing.

The Standard

How was testing done?

Dr. Leonard Guarente: In addition to the fact that NR and PT are natural compounds, there's a great deal of preclinical research that supports the safety of the ingredients. We also have GRAS—a designation that indicates an ingredient is generally recognized as safe—for both ingredients in Basis. Our first clinical trial, conducted in 2016, further demonstrated the safety of Basis in addition to demonstrating its ability to increase and sustain NAD+ levels. As is the standard for pharmaceutical clinical trials, it was a double-blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study. At one month we showed that we were able to increase NAD+ levels on average by 40% from baseline, roughly equivalent to the level of decline that occurs with aging. At two months, we showed that we were able to sustain that increase.

In addition to our commitment to clinically testing our products in rigorous human trials, we're equally committed to purity and quality, and we third-party test every lot of Basis for that reason. Basis is also NSF Certified for Sport, which means that NSF tests every lot of Basis to ensure it meets NSF's standards for purity and quality as well. To recognize our commitment to raising the bar for consumers and the health and wellness industry, Good Housekeeping awarded Elysium the first-ever seal for Innovation in 2018.

Any long term testing?

Dr. Leonard Guarente: Our first clinical trial was two months in length. Currently, we have a number of other ongoing clinical trials, including a six-month trial for fatty liver, which will be completed in the first half of 2020. In addition to our clinical trials, we also monitor customer feedback for any patterns of side effects or contraindications and have identified none to date. While there is no guarantee that the results of any trial will be positive, Elysium is committed to conducting clinical trials to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of our products.

"While the construct of Elysium in the ancient context differed by author (Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, Plutarch, Dante, etc.) and evolved over time, the fundamental premise remained the same—Elysium was a part of the afterlife reserved for those who were considered special." - Eric Marcotulli

Are there any side effects?

Eric Marcotulli: Through our safety testing and feedback monitoring, we have not identified any patterns of side effects or contraindications since Basis was first introduced in February 2015.

Why the name Elysium?

Eric Marcotulli: The name Elysium comes from Greek mythology. While the construct of Elysium in the ancient context differed by author (Homer, Hesiod, Virgil, Plutarch, Dante, etc.) and evolved over time, the fundamental premise remained the same—Elysium was a part of the afterlife reserved for those who were considered special. What defined “special” changed with the authors and their translations, but the principal concepts were that one needed to be elevated, better, or somehow chosen to gain access to paradise.

Because our model is to break the traditional life sciences mold in order to bring innovative and impactful products directly to consumers, Elysium seemed like a fitting name. We believe in empowerment, access, and choice and, in doing so, we are opening up the idea of Elysium to everyone.


Writer
Lars Byrresen Petersen