#028: April 19th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry
Samumed shakeup and IPO. LongevityBase.org. 12 Seconds to Mars.
Capital Raise Radar
Last Week in Longevity
New Companies on Longevity List
12 Seconds to Mars
*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.
Announcing LongevityBase.org - Want to earn $100 in BTC? I’m going to be posting a task on 1729.com to incentivize volunteers to get the ball rolling on an open-source database for things that modulate biological aging. Basically, I want people to read longevity intervention research papers (in mammalian models and humans) and add entries to the LongevityBase Airtable. One parameter of aging (lifespan or some phenotype of aging) per line. The goal is to get to a critical database mass at which point people will volunteer to maintain it. Interested? First, subscribe to 1729.com and/or sign up here.
Every Friday @ 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. (No sign-up required.)
Bring something to work on.
Feel free to ask questions.
Help out. Connect.
I plan on holding this weekly. It’s free. (Room Link)
The 1% Bet for Longevity-- a website initiative. 31 people have now 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 by the end of the year.
📡 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.
Developing compounds that target mitochondrial dysfunction to reverse aging. Includes natural compound cosmeceutical for skin aging and hair loss. Also developing pharmaceuticals for prostate / ovarian conditions.
Team: Keshav Singh (University of Alabama), Greg Schmergel (Nantero)
Developing recombinant alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M) protein to treat osteoarthritis. Also developed a diagnostic biomarker test for osteoarthritis.
Team: Gaetano Scuderi, Antonio Carvalho, Joey Bose, Lewis Hanna
Crowdfunding on SeedInvest. Open to all investors, even retail.
High-throughput model organism phenotypic screen platform to discover anti-aging drugs.
Team includes academics from the Buck Institute: Simon Melov, Mark Lucanic, Gordon Lithgow.
Crowdfunding on WeFunder. Open to all investors, even retail.
Already raised $2.1M on a $15M valuation.
Senolytic gene therapy using a lipid-protein nanoparticle delivery vehicle. Kills cells that express the p16 gene -- a marker of senescent cells. Inducible apoptosis gene with a p16 promoter triggered by a chemical dimerizer.
Team: Matthew Scholz (Immusoft), Gary Hudson.
Seed round. Accredited investors only. $50K minimum check size.
Makers of Rejuvant Life Tabs, 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 maximum lifespan of female mice by 20%. (Shahmirzhadi et al 2020)
Currently “soft-closed” $5.5 M for their Series B. Looking to raise up to $15 M total.
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)
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 mitochondrial biogenesis, etc
Y Combinator-backed company.
Team: Jonah Sinick, Yuriy Kirichok, Michael Grabe, Liliya Gabelev, David Segura
+ see all (click on “Capital Raise Radar”)
📝 Last Week in Longevity
Samumed rebrands as Biosplice Therapeutics ahead of planned IPO, founder and CEO steps down. Samumed is a secretive $12B regenerative medicine company that develops drugs that target the Wnt pathway. It is the biggest regenerative medicine company by valuation.
Last week the company announced their founder and CEO Osman Kibar would step down and the company would rebrand to Biosplice Therapeutics. The company also announced an additional $120M equity financing and intentions to file for an IPO as early as this year.
Samumed’s rebrand to Biosplice Therapeutics marks a shift in the marketing of their core science. Originally, the company emphasized targeting the Wnt pathway. Now Samumed/Biosplice is putting the emphasis on alternative gene splicing of pre-mRNA related to CLK/DYRK kinases, which modulates the Wnt pathway. The change also comes as the company recently dropped many clinical programs from their pipeline. Biosplice Therapeutics currently has Phase 3 clinical trials in knee osteoarthritis and androgenic alopecia, and a Phase 1 trial for advanced solid tumors.
Gerostate Alpha raising $500k through WeFunder (Live Now). Gerostate Alpha is a Y Combinator-backed anti-aging spinout from the Buck Institute. They employ lifespan and aging phenotypic screens of model organisms to identify drugs that might slow down aging. Gerostate is currently raising $500k in a crowdfunding round on WeFunder, having already raised $2.1M at a $15M valuation. The team includes Simon Melov, Mark Lucanic, and Gordon Lithgow. Unlike most longevity startups, Gerostate Alpha is open to all investors, even retail.
FOXO Technologies raises $10M investment to begin life insurance program powered by DNA methylation biomarker tests. FOXO is a Minneapolis-based company that seeks to leverage epigenetic biomarkers (DNA methylation) to predict lifespan, which they will use in life insurance products. The company announced a $10M seed investment from Bespoke Growth Partners and Joseph Gunnar & Co, bringing their total funding to $40M.
The DNA methylation epigenetic clock, GrimAge, has been reported to predict mortality and healthspan so the application for life insurance is natural. If they prove successful these clocks could eventually be used systematically in health and wellness, or perhaps as an FDA-approved surrogate biomarker for aging.
Treefrog Therapeutics announces 15 billion human iPSCs produced in a single 10L bioreactor in one week. Treefrog Therapeutics is a stem cell company based in France that is developing regenerative medicine therapies derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The company announced a major breakthrough in iPSC manufacturing throughput using their C-Stem encapsulation technology, achieving a 276x expansion in a single 10L bioreactor in 6.5 days. Their reactor was able to produce 15 billion cells -- or enough to dose 10,000 Parkinson’s patients with Treefrog’s planned dopaminergic neuron grafts. The previous throughput record for a 10L bioreactor was 37x expansion.
Manufacturing at scale is one of the biggest challenges to commercializing stem cell therapies. Treefrog’s C-Stem technology encapsulates cells using microfluidics and a porous biomimetic material that mimics the embryonic stem cell differentiation environment. This allows Treefrog to expand their iPSC stem cells rapidly, at scale, and at low cost.
BioAge Labs licenses apelin drug from Amgen. BioAge is an AI/ML drug discovery company that leverages proprietary biobank data to find drugs that modulate biological aging. The drug they are licensing from Amgen (BGE-105) is an apelin mimetic that modulates the APJ receptor that is involved in muscle growth and repair. BioAge intends to initiate a Phase 1 trial for the drug to treat muscle aging in Q2 2022.
BGE-105 is BioAge’s third anti-aging drug they have licensed so far. The other two drugs are BGE-117 for unexplained adult anemia (via hypoxia-inducible factor pathway) and BGE-175 for Covid19 in older adults (via prostaglandin pathway). BioAge’s founder and CEO, Kristen Fortney (who will be on the Longevity Biotech Show on April 29th) has mentioned they might have ~10 aging pathways they can target by in-licensing drugs before needing to discover novel drugs. BioAge recently announced a partnership with HitGen for novel compound generation.
Recursion Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:RXRX) rakes in $436 M in IPO, shares jump 73%. Recursion Pharma, the AI computer vision-powered drug discovery company founded by Chris Gibson now has a market capitalization of ~$4.5B. While most of their drug pipeline is not related to aging, Recursion does have a preclinical senolytics program to treat scleroderma. The company leverages large-scale automated cell imaging to detect senescent cells and find drugs that kill them. Recursion also acquired Joe Bets-LeCroix’s digital vivarium company Vium, which will likely play a role in large-scale in vivo testing of drugs.
📅 Longevity Futures
We will be discussing Jean’s ambitious roadmap for replacing all parts of the body, including the brain -- his present focus.
Stick around at the end of each show for a casual “after-party” longevity biotech chat/networking.
Sign up for reminders via Google Calendar. Click this link for email reminders for all future Longevity Biotech Show events.
We now have an official Longevity Biotech Show Website. Stay informed on upcoming events and get access to previous show recordings/show notes (coming soon).
April 27th, 2021 @ 7AM PDT. Rejuveron Aging Symposium. A full-day event put on by Rejuveron, a Swiss longevity investment group. Speakers from industry and academia including Andrew Scott, Lynne Cox, Aubrey de Grey, Christian Angermayer, Manuel Serrano, and Lee Rubin.
May 4th - May 7th, 2021. Longevity Leaders Online Conference: An industry and academia conference with networking events. Basic passes are free but access to premium online events is paid. Early bird discounts are also available. A great lineup of speakers: Aubrey de Grey, Nir Barzilai, João Pedro de Magalhães, Sergey Young, Ronjon Nag, representatives from Alkahest, Stealth BioTherapeutics, Navitor, and many more.
Wednesday, May 12th, 2021 @ 11AM EDT. Aubrey de Grey and S. Jay Olshansky Longevity Webinar - Healthspan Show. Free online talk. Aubrey de Grey is the founder of SENS Research Foundation and Jay Olshansky is a professor of epidemiology at the University of Illinois Chicago.
Wednesday, May 26th, 2021 @ 7AM EDT. João Pedro de Magalhães Integrative Genomics of Aging Seminar. Zoom.
Summer Aging Seminars at Loyal. Celine Halioua, the founder of dog life-extension startup Loyal, is putting on aging science seminars this summer at their headquarters in San Francisco. Register to join.
If you want to help accelerate progress in longevity technology please consider sharing this newsletter with others. Thanks!
✨ Featured Longevity Jobs
Looking for jobs, companies, or investors in the longevity biotechnology industry? Check out my website LongevityList.com.
Engineering Intern // Cellvie // Matzingen, Switzerland
Senior Scientist, Biochemist // Cellvie // Matzingen, Switzerland
Medical Analyst for Rejuvenation Therapies // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Analyst for Functional and Preventive Medicine // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Scientific Spokesperson // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Head of Global Communications // Forever Healthy // Karlsruhe, Germany or Remote
Head of Consumer // Loyal // San Francisco, Remote
Computational Bio Internship // Loyal // San Francisco? / Remote?
Epigenetics / Reprogramming Postdoc// Morgan Levine Lab (Yale) // Yale
SPAC Investment Professional // Maximon // Zug, Switzerland
Associate Director/Director of In Vivo Biology/Pharmacology// BioAge Labs // Richmond, CA, USA
+ more longevity jobs
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
Endogena: Preclinical stage company developing small molecule drugs that stimulate endogenous regeneration. Target indications include retinitis pigmentosa, dry age-related macular degeneration, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Backed by Rejuveron.
RejuverVas: A Rejuveron company developing therapies to improve brain vasculature in order to enhance brain function. Very light on details, but the company is founded on the scientific work of Lee Rubin, a professor at Harvard’s Stem cell and Regenerative Medicine department.
Cytonics: A Florida-based company that develops diagnostics and therapeutics for osteoarthritis. Cytonics developed a system for extracting and enriching blood plasma for alpha-2-macroglobulin (A2M), which would be injected back into damaged cartilage tissue. Now the company is focused on using manufactured recombinant A2M to treat osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease. Cytonics also has a biomarker diagnostic test for osteoarthritis based on joint fluid samples. Osteoarthritis is one of the big “aging indications” with an estimated global market of ~$10 billion. Cytonics is currently raising a Series C, a portion of which is being raised on SeedInvest’s crowdfunding platform.
Tweet of the Week: 12 Seconds to Mars
The history of technological progress is filled with famous examples of expert pessimists. In 1895, Lord Kelvin, a prominent physicist at the time, declared that powered flight was impossible.
I can state flatly that heavier than air flying machines are impossible.
— Lord Kelvin, 1895
Eight years later, in 1903, a pair1 of bicycle repairmen took to the skies over the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for 12 seconds, achieving the quest of human flight stretching back to antiquity.
It took 300,000 years of human technology to achieve powered flight. But only a quick 66 years later humans landed on the moon. Another 52 years and a helicopter was flying around on Mars.
What people think is technologically impossible can become commonplace in the blink of an eye.
The calculus of longevity
No technology is impossible except for what is strictly prohibited by physics2. Since there is no known law of physics that prohibits the reversal of biological aging, we can conclude that it is possible in theory.
More practically, we already know of organisms that age negligibly (naked mole rat). Some organisms appear to have an indefinite lifespan (hydra). A simple drug called rapamycin, when given to mice, extends their lifespan ~15%. These are proofs-of-concept that biological aging is not universally inevitable nor is it immutable. Replacement strategies, like those championed by Jean Hebert, also provide a fundamentally sound engineering approach to defeating aging.
However, even though reversing aging is fundamentally possible it is difficult to predict when such technologies might arrive3. Yes, we have made significant strides in the short ~30 years of concerted aging biology research and translation - and the rate of progress is increasing exponentially. But we are still awaiting the first demonstration of anti-aging therapy in humans -- one that could rapidly unlock gates of progress in longevity.
First demonstration or none, the basic calculus still holds: Biological aging causes immense suffering and as long as there is some possibility of curing it we should at least try. And in working towards such a noble moonshot we are also likely to make serious headway on greatly ameliorating age-related diseases and slowing aging. This is a more than worthy consolation prize should we fail to reverse aging in our lifetimes. And if we fail, those in the future will carry on in our place until victory is assured.
The quanta of progress
I don’t know how long it might take to develop technologies that cure aging.
But what I do know for sure is that it will happen faster if we can get more people and capital on board working on this problem -- even if the individual contributions are small and incremental.
So here are some small ways you can help accelerate progress in longevity today:
Tweet or post links about longevity on social media
Invest in public longevity companies (not financial advice)
Volunteer at Lifespan.io
Volunteer by mining data from longevity research papers on LongevityBase.org
Write blog posts about longevity
Start a longevity YouTube channel or TikTok
Share this newsletter with others
Some of my projects, resources, and ways to support my mission. More projects coming…
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 One 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.
LongevityBase.org - An open-source volunteer initiative to itemize every instance of modulation of biological aging in the scientific literature, starting with mammalian models and humans.
Patreon - For people who want to support my work and mission. Premium tiers include access to my private Telegram group for behind-the-scenes thoughts and network.
Twitter- Random thoughts and link shares. My DMs are open.
A special thanks to my Patreon supporters who have joined forces with me to undertake this mission.
Technically, Orville was the lone pilot of the first flight. The Wright brothers took turns piloting four flights that day.
And even laws of physics are subject to revision. The majority of modern technology cannot be described by classical physics.
If at all. There could be any number of existential calamities that could derail progress permanently.