#025: March 29th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry

Frequency Therapeutics Failure. Covid Longevity. Democratizing Longevity Investing.

Longevity Marketcap Telemetry (March 29th, 2021)

  1. Announcements

  2. Last Week in Longevity

  3. Longevity Futures

  4. Capital Raise Radar

  5. Longevity Jobs

  6. New Companies on Longevity List 

  7. Tweet of the Week

  8. My Links

*Disclaimer: None of this should be taken as financial advice. It is for educational purposes only.

Mission: To grow a wave of passionate people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. 

-NATHAN CHENG // Longevity List // Longevity Marketcap //@realNathanCheng


📢 Announcements

  • Friday April 2, 2021  @ 12PM - 5PM EDT. Longevity Virtual Coworking. If you are working on longevity or thinking about getting into the longevity industry, please join me for an experimental virtual longevity coworking space using the Pluto.Video web app. (Sign in with Google account. No sign-up required.)

    • Bring your work. 

    • Feel free to ask questions. 

    • Help out. Connect.

    • I plan on holding this weekly. It’s free. (Pluto Video Room Link)  

    • The traditional coworking tribe consists of people with no commonality other than happenstance geographic proximity. A much better model is a cloudformation of people with the same common belief working in virtual proximity -- able to assist each other and feed off of combined energy. 

  • Longevity List Store Launch. Represent the cause you believe in while looking super fresh in our Longevity Tees (see below). 10% of profits will be donated to SENS, João Pedro de Magalhães lab (funding transgenic mouse with bowhead whale genes), and the PEARL rapamycin trial.

  • Complete my survey to win a Longevity T-shirt. I want to know how I can help get more people involved in longevity. Answer 5 simple questions for your chance to win. The survey closes on April 30th, 2021. One entry per person.

  • The 1% Bet for Longevity-- a website initiative. 13 people have signed up for the 1% Bet for Longevity Pledge. My goal is to get to 50,000 people and at least 100 companies to pledge 1% of their resources towards funding longevity companies and research. Anar Isman, the CEO of AgelessRx, has signed up and so can you! 

  • Longevity List / Longevity Marketcap is hiring! Do you believe in my mission to grow a wave of passionate people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. Do you want to personally help me make this happen faster? Then please contact me if you are interested in any of these roles:

    • Biology Analyst and Researcher // Part-time (~ 15 hours per week)

      • Scrape / collate aging research papers. Summarize and comment on their methods and main results. Use Scite.ai to trace contrasting papers.

      • Bonus if you have experience in NLP/ML.


📝 Last Week in Longevity

  • Frequency Therapeutics fails Phase 2a multi-dose trial for sensorineural hearing loss. Frequency Therapeutics announced last Tuesday that their four-dose trial of FX-322 showed no improvements in sensorineural hearing loss vs controls. FX-322 is a locally injected small molecule drug that stimulates progenitor stem cells in the inner ear to regenerate “hair cells”. The company cited an unusually large placebo effect in the hearing tests (word recognition scores), which suggested an issue of bias in the trial design. The company’s stock was down ~75% on the news.

    This data readout was a huge letdown -- but not unexpected. Remember ~90% of drugs fail in the clinic so manage your risk accordingly. Failure should be your base case.

    I previously wrote a newsletter on Frequency Therapeutics, which covered some of their promising in vitro work (regenerating hair cells in surgically removed human cochlea) and early human efficacy data (+86% in word recognition, but n= 5). The science was promising. The company is also a spin out from the legendary Robert Langer lab at MIT. The moral of the story: Regenerative medicine is a tricky business.

    Frequency still has data coming for their single-dose trial. Their CDO, Carl LeBel, is talking about pivotal trials and all the normal damage control PR statements. 

    Hearing loss sufferers need not despair, though. Decibel Therapeutics (NASDAQ:DBTX), a Longevity Fund backed company is developing gene therapies to treat various forms of hearing loss, including sensorineural hearing loss. However, they are still far away from initiating trials for this indication. 

  • 2nd nicotinamide riboside clinical trial for COVID-19. Researchers at the University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio have initiated a Phase 2 clinical trial of nicotinamide riboside (NR) to treat acute kidney injury (AKI) in COVID-19 patients. NR is a popular “longevity” supplement that boosts NAD+, a coenzyme that plays an important role in metabolism and DNA repair. I must stress that there is presently no clinical evidence that proves NR / NMN / other NAD+ boosters have a pro-longevity effect in humans. This hasn’t stopped NMN from selling like crazy in China. (Probably due to David Sinclair’s book as NR doesn’t seem nearly as popular.)

    A similar Phase 3 trial conducted by Chromadex, the maker of the TruNiagen NR supplement, recently demonstrated that a combination of standard of care + nicotinamide riboside (NR), L-serine, N-acetyl-L-cysteine (NAC), and L-carnitine tartrate reduced recovery time in mild to moderate COVID patients by ~38% (significant) compared to standard of care alone. Elysium Health, the makers of the Basis NR + pterostilbene supplement, are also conducting a clinical trial to treat acute kidney injury -- but not specifically in COVID patients. 

    Severe COVID-19 is an age-related disease -- age is the biggest risk factor. One silver lining of the pandemic is that longevity companies have been allowed to quickly trial therapies that might reverse some aspect of immunosenescence in COVID patients. BioAge, Mesoblast, Chromadex, Athersys, resTORbio, and CohBar all have (or had) COVID pipelines. 

  • Samumed drops several programs from their pipeline. The secretive $12B San Diego-based regenerative medicine company removed several programs from their pipeline on their website (tendinopathy, IPF, liquid tumors, degenerative disc disease). Most of the studies in these removed programs were completed 1 - 3 years ago. The lack of follow-up trials implied discontinuation but now the update to their website makes it official. Their lead program of Lorecivivint to treat osteoarthritis by targeting the Wnt pathway to stimulate regeneration is still in Phase 3 trials. Samumed also has programs in androgenic alopecia, solid tumors, and Alzheimer’s disease listed on their website.


📅 Longevity Futures

Know of any interesting longevity talks, meetings, or events? Please email me.


📡 Capital Raise Radar

I do not endorse or have affiliations with any of the companies listed below. This is not an offer to buy or sell securities. This is for informational purposes only. If you have intel on any other longevity companies currently raising please email me. It’s free.

  • Oisin Biotechnologies // Raising $5M // Slide deck

    • Senolytic gene therapy using lipid-protein nanoparticle delivery vehicle. 

    • Kill cells that express p16 gene -- a marker of senescent cells. Inducible apoptosis gene with a p16 promoter triggered by a chemical dimerizer.

    • Team: Matt Scholz (Immusoft), Gary Hudson.

    • Seed round. Accredited investors only. $50K minimum check size. 

    • Other investors include The Methuselah Fund, Kizoo Technology Capital. 

  • Ponce de Leon Health // Raising $15M // Article

    • Makers of Rejuvant LifeTabs, a calcium alpha-ketoglutarate supplement (CaAKG). Alpha-ketoglutarate is a key molecule in the Krebs cycle. Brian Kennedy (former head of Buck Institute, now at the National University of Singapore) is the CSO of this company.  

    • CaAKG supplementation reduces frailty and extends maximal lifespan of female mice by 20%. (Shahmirzhadi et al 2020)

    • Ponce de Leon is sponsoring a clinical trial of CaAKG at the University of Indiana. The trial will measure changes in C-reactive protein and hs-CRP (inflammation biomarkers) in older adults.

    • Currently “soft-closed” $5.5 M for their Series B. Looking to raise up to $15 M total.

  • Revivo Therapeutics// Raising: $5M // Slide Deck

    • Small molecule drugs that enhance cognition and reduce neuron excitability to treat neurodegenerative and CNS conditions (including anxiety and depression). 

    • Targets the nitric oxide and CREB pathways. 

    • Same team that built Cardioxyl ($2B exit to Bristol Myers Squib)

  • Equator Therapeutics// Raising: $3M - $5M // Slide Deck

    • Mitochondrial uncoupler drug to burn fat through natural body heat production.

    • Targeting obesity, type 2 diabetes, fatty liver disease, PCOS. 

    • Pro longevity: Exercise mimetic, increases mitochondria biogenesis, etc

  • + see all (click on “Capital Raise Radar”)


Featured Longevity Jobs

Looking for jobs, companies, or investors in the longevity biotechnology industry? Check out my website LongevityList.com.

If you are hiring email me a link to your job postings and I will post them on longevitylist.com (it’s free).


New Companies on Longevity List

Some interesting longevity companies I have stumbled upon and added to the Longevity List database in the past week

  • Treefrog Therapeutics: This company was forwarded to me by a subscriber. Treefrog Therapeutics is developing cell / stem cell therapies to treat diseases like Parkinson’s. For this they plan on engineering dopaminergic neurons for transplantation -- an approach that Jean Hebert (neurogeneticist @ Albert Einstein College of Medicine) championed in his recent book Replacing Aging.

  • Petri Bio: I met one of the founders (Shu Li) of this company on Clubhouse. The company is using synthetic biology to develop gut microbiome metabolites to treat metabolic disease and also treat aging. The gut microbiome was recently highlighted by Reason of FightAging.org / Repair Biotechnologies as one of the underserved areas of longevity biotechnology. In particular, the connection between the gut microbiome, the intestinal lining, and inflammation is suspected to play a role in frailty and aging. I’m glad someone is working on this. Petri will probably also be raising capital in the near future.


Tweet of the Week: How to Fund Longevity

March 15th, 2021: A new increase in the amount capital startups can raise from crowdfunding continues the trend of empowering retail investors to shape the future they wish to see.

Increased investment in the longevity space will accelerate progress.   

But don’t wait for the ~3,000 aging billionaires to come to their senses about longevity. Take matters into your own hands. Don’t underestimate the power of a grassroots internet movement fuelled by memes and people united by an important shared belief. This is how we got Bitcoin.

If anything good came out of the GameStop saga of 2021 (other than memes and tendies), it would be the emergence of the power of united retail investors and the concept of the right to freedom of financial expression. Every dollar invested into a company is a vote for the future that you want to see. Any infringement on this right is an infringement on freedom.

And in the case of longevity, this freedom is crucial to life and reduction of suffering from biological aging.

The right to accelerate longevity

While there are a growing number of public longevity companies (two IPOs and two SPACs launched this year alone), the majority of the longevity investment activity is happening in the private startup world.

For decades the SEC, in their infinite wisdom, deemed it too risky for people to invest in these startups unless you were already rich (accredited investor). 

But since March 15, 2021, new SEC regulations allow startups to raise up to $5M/year through crowdfunding. For early-stage longevity biotech startups, this is a game-changer, especially considering how much more capital-intensive biotech is compared to traditional tech.

Early longevity biotech founders are now uniquely positioned to raise significant capital through platforms like Republic.co and WeFunder.  All they need to do is tap the tremendous passion of the believers in the growing longevity community. This has notable implications on how biotech founders will need to market themselves to these new investors. (Tell a compelling story. Also: No more terrible websites, please.)

On the flip side, retail investors now have a greater opportunity to participate as early adopters in longevity biotech. Colossal returns will no longer be monopolized by VCs, institutional funds, and angel investors. (Warning: Colossal losses will not be monopolized either.) 

One longevity biotech startup has already raised capital through crowdfunding (Petri Bio). Gingko Bioworks, a synbio YC-backed startup, raised money through crowdfunding back in 2014 under the older funding cap restriction. Gingko is now valued at $4B.

It’s still early days for crowdfunding investing. But I’m optimistic about how it could meaningfully accelerate the longevity industry. Throw in innovations from the crypto sphere like VitaDAO and the options for the democratization of longevity investing looks bright.


My Links

Some of my projects, resources, and ways to support my mission. More projects coming…

Projects

  • Longevity List  - Find jobs, companies, and investors in the longevity industry. Email me if you want to add your job or company to the list. It’s free.

  • Longevity List Database- A handy Airtable base covering people, companies, trials, academic labs, and a list of longevity companies that are presently raising capital.

  • LMC Clinical Trial Tracker- Longevity therapeutics in clinical trials. Completion calendar useful for investors who want to time data readout catalysts.

  • LongevityMarketcap.com- The main page tracks prices of publicly traded longevity stocks.

  • Longevity Biotech Show - Official website. We interview the people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. On Clubhouse / podcasts. 

  • The 1% Percent Bet for Longevity Pledge - An initiative to get individuals and corporations to pledge at least 1% of their resources to fund longevity companies and research.

Support