Mehmood Khan attends the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S. (Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg)  

Departing PepsiCo Scientist to Become CEO of Anti-Aging Startup

(Bloomberg) -- The top scientist at PepsiCo Inc., Mehmood Khan, is retiring from the beverage-and-snack giant to become chief executive officer of Life Biosciences Inc., a startup with more than $75 million in venture funding aiming to help people live longer, healthier lives.

Departing PepsiCo Scientist to Become CEO of Anti-Aging Startup

Boston-based Life Biosciences was founded in 2017 by Harvard Medical School genetics professor David Sinclair, a prominent anti-aging researcher, and investor Tristan Edwards. Its backers include WeWork Cos. Chief Executive Officer Adam Neumann. Khan’s appointment is effective April 1.

Khan had served as Pepsi’s co-vice chairman and chief scientific officer. The 60-year-old endocrinologist said he had been following advances in the basic biology of aging for years and knew some of the field’s key scientists, leading to his introduction to the founders of Life Biosciences.

“Historically, aging has been looked at as a normal consequence of life and as medical professionals we have not looked at aging as a disease process,” Khan said in an interview, adding that science is at the cusp of being able to do something about it.

Khan said his departure from Pepsi is amicable. The beverage company unveiled a number of changes to its top ranks on Monday as its new CEO looks for ways to spark growth. Before his stint at Pepsi, Khan headed global research for Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.

Life Biosciences, with 103 employees, is trying to extend healthy lifespan by treating multiple diseases of aging simultaneously. It has six daughter companies that each focus on a different facet of the aging process.

“What makes us different is we are looking at all aspects of the known pathways of aging,” said Khan. “Nothing is off the table.”

Longevity has been a hot area for startups recently. Calico Life Sciences LLC, the secretive anti-aging skunkworks backed by Google parent Alphabet Inc., has more than 150 employees and this year hired an Amgen Inc. official to lead drug development. Another company focused on slowing age-related diseases, Unity Biotechnology Inc., went public last year and has a drug in trials for osteoarthritis.

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