Juvenescence is creating antiaging therapies using artificial intelligence and biotechnology with a near term goal of extending human lifespan to 150 years. They just raised $100 million in a Series B round, including a total of $10 million from its founders and a further $10 million each from four cornerstone investors, including Grok Ventures, the investment company of Mike Cannon-Brookes (Atlassian cofounder), and Michael Spencer’s private investment company, IPGL. This brings the total to $165 Million that Juvenescence has raised in 18 months and speaks to the extraordinary opportunity as well as interest in developing therapeutics with the capacity to modify aging.
They have 12 programs based on hard, rigorous science, to attempt to modify aging. They range from stem cell research to senolytics (removing zombie cells) to modifying or preventing Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The Juvenescence teams believes within five to seven years at least four anti-aging products will be on the market from their portfolio of about one dozen antiaging companies.
Juvenescence therapeutic strategy includes products targeted at:
Slowing cellular aging
Slowing and reversing neurodegeneration
Destroying senescent cells
Replacing aging organs
Editing patient genes
AgeX Therapeutics, Inc. (NYSE American: AGE) is focused on developing and commercializing innovative therapeutics for human aging.
PureStem® is AgeX’s cell derivation and manufacturing platform and UniverCyte™ is its immune tolerance platform. They are designed to work together to generate highly-defined, hypoimmunogenic, allogeneic, off-the-shelf, low COGS, pluripotent stem cell-derived young cells of any type for application in a whole host of diseases with a high unmet medical need. AgeX has two preclinical cell therapy programs: AGEX-VASC1 (vascular progenitor cells) for tissue ischemia and AGEX-BAT1 (brown fat cells) for Type II diabetes.
induced Tissue Regeneration (iTR™) is AgeX’s revolutionary longevity platform which aims to unlock cellular immortality and regenerative capacity to reverse age-related changes within tissues. AGEX-iTR1547 is an iTR-based formulation in preclinical development.
HyStem is AgeX’s cell and small molecule delivery technology designed to stably engraft cell therapies or to slowly release iTR small molecules in the body for higher efficacy and safety.
AgeX is developing its core product pipeline for use in the clinic to extend human healthspan, and is seeking opportunities to form licensing and partnership agreements around its broad IP estate and proprietary technology platforms for non-core clinical applications.
A spinout from University of Pittsburgh’s McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine, Lygenesis’ technology will enable the use of a patient’s own lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow functioning ectopic organs including liver, kidney, thymus, and pancreas.
The initial target for clinical development is liver regeneration, with a focus on helping patients with end-stage liver disease (ESLD) using a hepatocyte cell therapy product which is implanted into the periduodenal lymph nodes. These hepatocytes engraft, vascularize, and perform all of the functions typical to liver tissue, enabling them to rescue patients from ESLD.
Lygenesis’ technology allows a single donated liver to act as the seed for dozens of transplants using outpatient endoscopy. Likely to be classified as a cell therapy, it represents a near-term example of regenerative medicine. In an example of the sort of cross-pollination Juvenescence encourages in its ecosystem, Lygenesis is exploring the use of cell-lines from AgeX in order to create off-the-shelf therapies that may eliminate the need for immunosuppression or donors.
There are no approved treatments for ESLD. Lygenesis’ technology could revolutionize the transplant market, allowing patients to avoid the requirement for liver transplant along with extending the lifespan of those unsuited to a liver transplant.
* Insilico Medicine, Inc. is a Johns Hopkins-based company using artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning for drug discovery to produce compounds targeted to the diseases of aging. Juvenescence and Insilico have created a joint venture, Generait Pharmaceuticals, that has the first right to five compounds per year from Insilico.
* FoxBio is a 50/50 joint venture between Juvenescence and Antoxerene, a subsidiary of growing discovery/pre-clinical CRO Ichor Therapeutics. The company is focused on developing small molecule senolytics targeting a major survival pathway relied on by senescent cells.
Cellular senescence is an irreversible arrest in cell proliferation that occurs in response to severe stresses, including telomere shortening, oncogene activation, DNA damage, and oxidative stress. Senescent cells remain metabolically active and secrete inflammatory molecules, termed the senescence-associated secretory phenotype (SASP), which are linked to many diseases of aging.
* Generait is a drug development and artificial intelligence company with a specific mission of finding diagnostic and therapeutic agents to address aging, as well as age-related diseases.
Previously Juvenescence AI limited, Generait was founded in July 2017, a partnership between Juvenescence and the leading AI drug discovery company Insilico Medicine, Inc, providing a vehicle to develop promising candidates identified using its end-to-end automated drug discovery pipeline through to clinical proof of concept.
* NetraPharma is a 50/50 partnership between Juvenescence and NetraMark Corp, and is a clinical-development focused machine learning company.
NetraPharma’s technology is a novel mathematical technique to integrate the outputs of multiple different machine learning algorithms, including gradient boosting, random forests, neural networks, GANs, quantum computation, and others. It enables the segmentation of subgroups within datasets when only a limited number of inputs are available.
* Souvien Therapeutics is a biotechnology company focused on developing novel therapeutic agents to modulate critical epigenetic mechanisms associated with neurodegeneration.
Souvien is founded on the pioneering research of Professor Li-Huei Tsai, the director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT, and Associate Professor Stephen Haggarty, the director of the Chemical Neurobiology Laboratory at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital.
The development plan is based on a substantial body of data implicating a critical epigenetic regulator of cellular ageing in neurodegeneration.
* BYOMass is a Massachusetts-based company, focused on developing therapeutics to modulate the central control of metabolism associated with aging and age-related chronic illnesses.
Aging drives the chronic diseases that are the biggest burden on the medical system, and BYOMass has built a compelling case around modulating defined targets to alleviate multi-morbidity.
* BHB Therapeutics is a joint venture between Juvenescence and the Buck Institute for Research on Aging. The company will focus on novel approaches to inducing a state of ketosis, which may have protective effects against age-related disease. The work is based on the research in the labs of Eric Verdin, MD and John Newman, MD, PhD.
The work centers on the emerging signalling functions of a metabolite created by the body during fasting or exercise, the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). They have discovered that BHB helps the body respond to stresses, and that long-term exposure to ketone bodies using a ketogenic diet can extend healthy lifespan in model systems.
* Napa Therapeutics is a spinout from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging, financed by Juvenescence.
It is a very important first step in Juvenescence’s model to create collaborations between basic scientists and drug developers.
Napa is a discovery-stage company focused on NAD+ metabolism. There is ample evidence that NAD+ depletion is a key feature of aging. Napa’s core IP will surround a novel target within NAD+ metabolism to increase levels of NAD+ within the tissue.
Napa has engaged Insilico Medicine to identify small molecule modulators of an undisclosed target highlighted in Dr. Eric Verdin’s research.
Written By Brian Wang, Nextbigfuture.com