• Every country worldwide is seeing growth in both size and percentage of older people in their population
  • Lodge Partners says anti-aging and longevity has become a focus area for pharmaceutical and biotech companies
  • LTR Pharma is helping older men bring spontaneity back to their sex lives treating erectile dysfunction in 10 minutes or less

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) people are living longer with a growing number of individuals reaching their sixties and beyond.

Every country worldwide is seeing growth in both size and percentage of older people in their population, in what has become known as ‘population ageing’.

Looking ahead to 2030, it is projected that one in six people worldwide will be 60 years or older. By 2050, the global population of those aged 60 years and beyond is expected to double, reaching 2.1 billion.

The number of individuals aged 80 years or older is forecast to triple between 2020 and 2050, reaching 426 million people.

The WHO notes there is no typical older person with some 80-year-olds having physical and mental capacities similar to many 30-year-olds.

However, it also notes that biologically ageing “results from the impact of the accumulation of a wide variety of molecular and cellular damage over time” leading to a decrease in physical and mental capacity, growing risk of disease and death.

Lodge Parters equity advisor Richard Lodge says to keep an older population functioning in a youthful state for as long as possible anti-aging and longevity has become a focus area for pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, including on the ASX.

“Given the aging demographic of the developed world its not hard to see why there is such demand for products and treatments,” he says.

“This thematic is supported by the investment made by billionaires globally in this field.”

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has reportedly invested in anti-aging start up companies Altos Labs and Unity Biotechnology. OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is reportedly backing Retro Biosciences, which is on a mission “to add 10 years to healthy human lifespan”.

And let’s not forget 46-year-old tech billionaire and biohacker Bryan Johnson, who is taking blood from his teenage son in an attempt to reverse the aging process.

“I think this is a trend that we will continue to see with an aging population worldwide and it’s a frontier of health yet to be fully explored,”  Lodge says.

Here’s some of the ASX companies we’ve noticed working to combat aging.


LTR Pharma (ASX:LTP)

There comes a time in every man’s life when the spirit is willing, but the flesh is… well, less so.  Clinical stage biotech LTP is helping to bring spontaneity back to older men’s sex lives by pioneering a novel intranasal (spray) technology called SPONTAN, which is designed to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) in 10 minutes or less.

LTP says an ED study across eight countries amongst males aged 40-70 indicated a self-reported prevalence of 40.5% across all age cohorts. In Australia, a population-based study of men aged 45 years or older indicated 60% had varying degrees of ED.

Men have been able to pop a little pill to deal with ED since a class of drugs called PDE5 inhibitors hit the market in 1998, including well-known Viagra.

But there is a bit of problem with most ED drugs on the market today – most of them take about an hour at least to work or for users to be able to function at their full sexual capacity.

LTP executive director Lee Rodne says SPONTAN  is looking to bring back youthful spontaneity of sex,  providing on-demand delivery and faster effect than the pills of old.

“We’re committed to bringing the world’s first fast-acting, on-demand nasal spray treatment for ED to men globally so they can live in the moment and be spontaneous,” he says.

“Oral medications are the gold standard treatment for ED and are blockbuster drugs.

“However, because they have to be swallowed and go through the digestive system, they don’t always work or work in the time desired by men and their partners.

As a world-first ED nasal spray, SPONTAN bypasses the digestive system and is designed as a fast-acting, on-demand treatment to work within 10-15 minutes, so men and their partners don’t need to wait around for up to an hour as they do with oral medications.

“We think this is a game changer for men worldwide,” Rodne says.

LTP on Monday announced that it had started recruitment for its pivotal bioequivalence clinical study for SPONTAN.


EZZ Life Science (ASX:EZZ)

EZZ offers health supplements, health food and probiotics as well as skincare products under two brands, EZZ and EAORON respectively.  Among its key focus is genetic longevity.

Director of corporate affairs James Hudson told Stockhead the rise of anti-aging research and supplements marks a pivotal moment in healthcare.

“Across the globe, unprecedented efforts are underway to unravel the mysteries of aging, offering profound insights into its mechanisms and potential avenues for intervention,” he says.

“The rise in demand for supplements containing ingredients which research shows may have anti-aging properties, like nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), reflects a paradigm shift in the way society views aging.”

He says NMN is a supplement that may help boost levels of a critical coenzyme in the body called NAD+, which is vital in facilitating metabolic processes and maintaining healthy cellular function.

Currently, NMN is not approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) in Australia, but EZZ Life Science has approval to produce the product for export.

Hudson says ashwagandha has also emerged as a promising supplement with research studies demonstrating its ability to decrease cortisol levels, a stress-related hormone, and enhance sleep quality.

He says a noteworthy study published in the Journal of Clinical Medicine in 2020 unveiled another facet of ashwagandha’s potential.

“It appears that this supplement, used traditionally in Ayurvedic medicine, might play a role in preserving the length of telomeres, crucial proteins located at the ends of chromosomes,” he says.

“Telomeres, often subject to shortening during DNA replication, are implicated in the acceleration of cellular aging and the initiation of degenerative processes, as highlighted in the study.”

EZZ’s recently released Mount Peak III contains ashwagandha to support a healthy immune system, support cognitive function in healthy adults, and support healthy sexual function and sperm health.


Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals (ASX:PAR)

Often termed degenerative joint disease or ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, osteoarthritis (OA) stands as the most prevalent manifestation of the condition.

But PAR aims to mitigate its effects by preserving the functional mobility of individuals affected and alleviating pain.  The company is focused on development of injectable pentosan polysulfate sodium (iPPS/Zilosul) for treatment of  OA and Mucopolysarcharidosis where inflammation plays a major pathogenic role.

PAR founder and managing director Paul Rennie told Stockhead OA affects 10-16% of adults in Australia.

“Osteoarthritis is a progressive degenerative disease with limited treatment options,” he says.

“OA is the fastest growing cause of disability globally, with prevalence driven by aging population, obesity and participation in high impact sports”.

PAR reported in October 2023 positive phase 2 data demonstrating one course of subcutaneous iPPS can provide 12-month pain relief and improved function in knee OA sufferers.

“We have also demonstrated in the same clinical trial improvement in cartilage volume and thickness at 6-month following treatment compared to placebo,” Rennie says.

“Our compelling recently reported phase 2 data was selected for a podium presentation at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International Conference in April, demonstrating the strength of this data and appeal to the international scientific community.”

Furthermore, PAR recently announced its Phase 2 clinical trial, PARA_MPSVI_001, has successfully met its primary endpoint.


The LTP, EZZ & PAR share price today:


At Stockhead we tell it like it is. While LTR Pharma, EZZ Life Science and Paradigm Biopharmaceuticals are Stockhead advertisers, they did not sponsor this article.