Fountain Life update: lawsuit by doc, high performance aging, Celularity trial plan

A New Rochelle doctor has filed suit against the healthcare clinic firm Fountain Life alleging fraud. Now seems like a good time for an update on the firm.

Peter Diamandis along with Bob Hariri, life coach Tony Robbins, and surgeon William Kapp founded Fountain Life, an early detection-focused healthcare company.

Fountain Life
Fountain Life seems at least in part to be a longevity firm.

Are they also a longevity firm? To me, it’s also been confusing at times as to whether they have or will have a stem cell component. Most recently they have said a possible stem cell element is just a future plan.

What’s up with that and what’s the deal with the lawsuit?

Fountain Life lawsuit by doc

According to Westfair Business Journal plaintiff Dr. David M. Lans says he was:

“lured into setting up an anti-aging clinic in Harrison.” Lans  “accused Fountain Life Holdings, of Naples, Florida, of fraud and deceptive trade practices in a complaint filed July 21 in Westchester Supreme Court.”

The paper goes on to report that Lans says he initially turned down an offer from the anti-aging firm, but “changed his mind after he was offered a guaranteed annual salary of $1.15 million for five years and assurances that Fountain Life would support the New Rochelle practice.”

What would he do in return? “Lans agreed to contribute his medical practice assets to Fountain’s Wealthy Life affiliate for a 10% interest in Wealthy Life.”

How did a conflict arise?

“Now Lans believes the offers were a ploy.

He claims that Fountain Life offloaded the costs of the new clinic onto the New Rochelle practice. No doctors were hired to cover for him, he says, leaving the office unstaffed most of the week. No capital or operating budgets were provided.

Patient referrals and visits to the once thriving practice declined precipitously.

On June 13, according to the complaint, Fountain Life claimed in a letter to Lans that he had violated their management services agreement by failing to pay a management fee.”

Fountain Life on suit

I asked Fountain Life for comment on the suit. CEO William Kapp wrote back:

“This is a frivolous lawsuit filed by a physician who we released as he was not meeting his obligations.  It will most likely be dismissed or he will lose in court.  For clarity, Fountain has never purported to be an anti-aging clinic. We are focused on early disease detection using predictive imaging technology, genomics and advanced blood biomarkers.  Our data confirms that early disease detection/reversal, while still asymptomatic, lowers the cost of healthcare by 70%.  Data from the Buck institute confirms that we currently have the technology to have people live to a healthy 98.”

One challenge with early detection is that frequent testing like whole-body scans can sometimes find things are not clinically meaningful but still lead to costly and sometimes harmful follow-up procedures. How does the risk of that compare to possible benefit when meaningful conditions like cancer are found early? I don’t believe that’s clear yet.

Longevity or not?

Back to Kapp’s quote, Fountain Life still seems like at least in part a longevity firm to me.

It’s described that way in the media sometimes.

Also, even Kapp’s statement about living to a “healthy 98” and other language used by the firm seem consistent with longevity or anti-aging to me. Perhaps it depends on one’s definition of a longevity firm?

It’ll be interesting to see how the lawsuit goes.

‘Fountain Life is like a country club for precision diagnostics’

So, again, what exactly is Fountain Life?

They appear to be focused on improving people’s lives (and maybe making them longer) via screening and AI.

The firm has some interesting ways of describing itself including as akin to a country club.

I’ve been following the company since early on and wondered how they are going to get their clinics open quickly. The lawsuit at least suggests that they may be partnering with existing physicians and clinics. That makes sense.

Stem cells in the mix via Celularity?

There were some earlier indications that I thought suggested Fountain Life might market stem cells too, but that remains somewhat unclear.

A recent magazine article about Fountain Life said this (emphasis mine):

“Next is the APEX program is for those wanting a full assessment and a one-year follow-up with a healthcare team to optimize their health. Further, those who qualify can pursue the most expensive program, EDGE, which involves regenerative technologies and stem cell therapies.”

But when I reached out to CEO William Kapp on the stem cell question and noted the statement in the magazine article, he emailed that they aren’t marketing stem cells. He did say:

“Regenerative technology, while important, is only useful to fountain if we can demonstrate improvement in high performance aging, as in treating sarcopenia.

Our FDA approved trials with Celularity will focus on age related sarcopenia and immune senescence.  We will announce these studies as a partnership with Celularity Q1.”

This seems to suggest they will go the IND route. What does “high performance aging” mean?

That link in the quote with Celularity, another Hariri and Diamandis firm, is interesting. I also emailed Bob Hariri about the stem cell question, at Kapp’s suggestion, but got no reply. Celularity is studying the potential uses of placental cells in therapies including in COVID.

For more background you can see my review of Fountain Life.

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