In September 2015, CEO Liz Parrish flew to Colombia to receive two experimental gene therapies. One was a myostatin inhibitor, a drug that is being tested as a treatment for muscle loss. The other was a telomerase gene therapy, the drug that BioViva claims has reversed her cells' biological age, by lengthening parts of her genetic material called telomeres.
If early data is accurate, it is the world's first successful example of telomere lengthening via gene therapy in a human individual.
The organisation is owned by umbrella company BioTrove Investments.
The treatment as well as the self-experimentation is highly controversial. Because the necessary pre-clinical work to progress to human studies, the US Food and Drug Administration did not authorise Parrish's experiment, requiring her to travel for treatment.
Timothy Caulfield, professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta characterising BioViva's work as 'Pseudo-science' and lacking scientific rigour. George M Martin, professor of pathology at the University of Washington had agreed to be an adviser to the company but resigned on hearing about the self-experiment.