#031: May 10th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry

Michael Greve's €300M commitment. Dyno / Stealth / FOXO. Thoughts on what the aging field needs.

  1. Announcements

  2. Last Week in Longevity

  3. Longevity Futures

  4. Capital Raise Radar

  5. Longevity Jobs

  6. New Companies on Longevity List 

  7. Thoughts on what the aging field needs

  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. 

If you want to be part of this mission alongside me, please consider supporting through Patreon or Longevity List Merch.


📢 Announcements 

  • The Longevity Biotech Show is officially a podcast! Check us out on Spotify. Coming soon to Apple Podcasts, pending approval.

  • forum.longevitybase.org - I’m rolling out a “StackExchange / Quora” for aging biology / longevity biotech. It’s in open beta right now. Feel free to sign up and try it out. Email me if you would like to become a moderator or if you have some suggestions.

    • For academics, independent researchers, biotech founders, and scientific-minded enthusiasts.

    • Ask questions, get answers → builds a searchable longevity research knowledge base. 

  • 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. 36 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. 


📝 Last Week in Longevity

  • Michael Greve announces 300M EUR to fund rejuvenation biotech startups. Michael Greve is the founder of Kizoo Technology Capital and the non-profit Forever Healthy Foundation. Last week Greve announced an additional 300M EUR to fund longevity biotechnology startups through Kizoo. 

    This is BIG news. To put the announcement into perspective, an average-sized longevity biotech seed round is around $5M, according to the longevitylist.com database. Greve’s capital can therefore seed an additional ~70 longevity startups on top of the 115 longevity startups on Longevity List. Note that the announced funding doesn’t account for the amount of external co-investment that will inevitably follow on, which Greve estimates could result in an extra 3 - 4x in capital.

    I believe that this 300M EUR is just the beginning of a golden age for longevity biotech startup funding. Of the top 200 billionaires on Forbe’s list, only 10 are below the age of 40. And no matter how many billions of dollars they might have, once you pass the age of 50 you cease being a billionaire of seconds (at rough current life expectancy estimates).

    Michael Greve is an entrepreneur known for co-founding WEB.de, a German web portal company. Greve also founded the Forever Healthy Foundation, which puts on the Undoing Aging conference every year, and Kizoo Technology Capital. Kizoo invests in a number of longevity biotech startups including Elastrin, Cellvie, Lysoclear, Turn Bio, Maia Biotechnology, Lift Biosciences, Underdog Pharmaceuticals, Elevian, Revel Pharmaceuticals, Oisin Biotechnologies, FoxBio, and Antoxorene. 

  • Dyno Therapeutics raises $100M Series A led by a16z. Gene therapy vector engineering is heating up. Two weeks ago Capsida announced a $140M in funding, including a deal with pharma giant AbbVie. Last week Dyno Therapeutics, an AAV capsid engineering startup co-founded by George Church, announced a $100M Series A. Investors in the round included a16z, Lux Capital, Polaris Ventures, and CRV.

    Dyno Therapeutics’s platform uses high-throughput generation of capsids through DNA library synthesis and artificial intelligence to optimize the design (safety, targeting, efficiency, manufacturability). Last February the company published a paper in Nature Biotechnology that showed their platform was able to generate viable capsids at a rate 60x+ higher than traditional random mutagenesis approaches.

    Gene therapies have mostly been used to treat rare monogenic diseases presently. But the power of a general gene therapy platform that can deliver any gene with precise targeting and timing will be important for longevity therapeutics. Companies such as Gordian Biotechnology, Rejuvenate Bio, and Oisin Biotechnologies are all pursuing gene therapies to target aging. A controversial anti-aging gene therapy for dementia is already being trialed in humans in Mexico by BioViva / Liz Parrish.

  • FOXO Technologies acquires exclusive license for GrimAge and PhenoAge epigenetic clocks. FOXO Technologies is a startup that is commercializing epigenetic clocks by offering testing services for researchers and also offering a new kind of epigenetic clock-based life insurance. The company announced it had obtained an exclusive license for PhenoAge and GrimAge DNA methylation clocks from UCLA. Both “biological clocks” were developed in part by Steve Horvath, a professor at UCLA who first discovered that DNA methylation patterns could be used to predict age.

    PhenoAge is a predictor of aging outcomes including healthspan, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease. It was developed by training DNA methylation data to predict phenotypic measures of aging derived from clinical measures (blood biomarkers of inflammation, liver/kidney/immune system function). 

    GrimAge is a significant epigenetic-based predictor of mortality (i.e time to death). It was trained using DNA methylation data to create surrogate predictors of seven different blood plasma proteins along with the number of smoke-pack years. 

    Epigenetic clocks are a promising tool for research, therapeutics translation, and potentially clinical trials. Horvath and others have created a non-profit organization, the Clock Foundation, in order to advance the use of epigenetic clocks as surrogate endpoints in anti-aging clinical trials. 

  • Stealth BioTherapeutics (NASDAQ:MITO) post-hoc analysis data for Dry AMD Phase 1 trial. Stock goes wild. Stealth BioTherapeutics is a clinical-stage biotech company that develops peptide therapies targeting the mitochondria. Their core asset is elamipretide, a peptide that stabilizes a mitochondrial membrane lipid called cardiolipin. Last week Stealth announced results from a post-hoc analysis of their Phase 1 trial for dry age-related macular degeneration, showing a correlation between improvements in low-light eyesight and the changes in the ellipsoid zone of the retina, a mitochondria-rich region in photoreceptors. Though the data was only post-hoc and suggestive, Stealth’s stock surged 35% on the news, possibly in the hopes that data bodes well for their ongoing Phase 2 Dry AMD trial


📅 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.

  • Yuva Biosciences // Currently raised $1.75M already (Seed) // Article

    • 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)

  • Cytonics // Raised $2.8M (Series C) // SeedInvest page

    • 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.

  • Oncolife Therapeutics // Raising $2M - $3M // Slide deck

    • Developing drugs that modulate stem cell activity to treat cancer and aging

    • Team: Guy Barry (QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Australia), Paul Baldock (The Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia)

  • Gerostate Alpha // Raising $500k // WeFunder page

    • High-throughput phenotypic screen platform to discover anti-aging drugs.

    • A spinout from the Buck Institute for Aging. Y Combinator-backed startup.

    • 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.

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

    • 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. 

    • Other investors include The Methuselah Fund, Kizoo Technology Capital

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

  • 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 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”)


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. Have any longevity company tips? Please email me

  • Retro Biosciences: A new stealth longevity therapeutics by Joe Betts-LaCroix. The company intends to target multiple age-related diseases with a single therapy. Joe Betts-LaCroix is a biophysicist and entrepreneur. He was co-founder of Vium/Mousera and an investor in Recursion Pharma, Spring Discovery, and StemCentrx

  • Lift Biosciences: A pan-cancer cell therapy startup developing allogeneic off-the-shelf neutrophils derived from exceptional cancer-resistant individuals. Investors include Jonathan Milner and Kizoo Technology Capital. 


Thoughts on “What the Aging Field Needs”

Celine Halioua (founder at Loyal) recently wrote a blog post that identifies seven key needs in the longevity industry today. Here’s my commentary and thoughts: 

What the aging industry needs:

  • More teams taking on regulatory risk

    • Longevity companies are aiming to trial drugs for specific proxy diseases -- not aging. This introduces the risk of false fails -- where the drug actually works for aging but fails for other reasons related to the chosen proxy indication.

    • One solution could be to find ways to do better preventative medicine trials in age-related diseases. It may be that reversing a disease of aging with advanced pathology might be much harder for the first aging drugs we develop, even if the drug being tested works for aging in general. 

  • More translational aging companies

    • Nobody is really attempting aging trials.

    • This is very true. Only Nir Barzilai (TAME) and perhaps AgelessRx (PEARL) are trying to work out the kinks of an aging trial. 

    • Aging biomarkers are being discussed as a surrogate endpoint but I have yet to see a public roadmap on how such a biomarker will be approved by the FDA. 

  • More sustainable business models

    • Aging startups need to break free from relying on cash from risk-averse big pharma 

    • Most biotechs end up selling to big pharma or requiring big pharma for cash. But big pharma companies are not very interested in aging -- AbbVie perhaps is an exception.

    • Aging (and perhaps gene therapy) could be the next paradigm shift in medical biotechnology that allows for new biotech companies to displace big pharma incumbents.

    • Ideally, we want aging companies to become self-sustaining, reinvesting their profits back into new R&D.

    • Some longevity founders see this opportunity: Matt Scholz stated on our podcast that he hopes that Oisin Biotechnologies will become the “Pfizer of aging”.

  • More investors bullish on aging

    • High quality bar, long time horizons, significant resources. Pick two.

    • Longevity biotech is still a very young industry. 

    • Michael Greve’s 300M EUR announcement sounds great in terms of the number of startups it could seed. But even 300M EUR alone is not enough money to bring one drug to market. We need more investors.

    • Which one of the three (high quality bar, long time horizon, significant resources) is most easily rectified if lacking? Probably “high quality bar”. Increasing investor sophistication (either through learning or recruitment of suitable advisors) is much easier than trying to change an investor’s time horizon or increasing their wealth. 

    • So who belongs to this glorious demographic of well-capitalized + long time horizon investors that lack aging biotech sophistication? Young crypto millionaires and billionaires. They are not in immediate need of anti-aging therapies but have more money than they know what to do with it. Vehicles like VitaDAO might be effective ways to capture some of this crypto wealth investment.

  • More (strategic) conservatism

    • Aging drugs are not about immortality or radical life extension...yet. This is something to debate later.

    • Ideas of longevity escape velocity and immortality tend to be too extreme for the general public. It’s much easier to digest longevity as medicine that happens to prevent diseases of aging and reduce all-cause mortality.

    • I’m divided on whether we actually need a large percentage of the public to get on board the longevity train before the first anti-aging drug is demonstrated. However, a large political mandate to approve anti-aging drugs would definitely help pressure the FDA.    

  • More new ideas

  • An interdisciplinary approach

    • Sometimes it takes fresh ideas from outside your niche (aging biology) to make progress.

    • Examples:

      • Aubrey de Grey wrote about how knowledge of soil bacteria held a potential key to degrading lipofuscin in his book Ending Aging. A startup called Lysoclear is attempting this approach.

      • Cellino, a stem cell startup, uses AI, robotics, and lasers to manipulate stem cells in manufacturing.

      • Theoretical physicist Erwin Schrodinger made incredible inferences from first principles on the nature of DNA. His book What is Life is a must-read and very relevant to aging.

Now please enjoy this talk on the physics of aging:


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 of the Clubhouse show / podcast. We interview the people building, funding, and championing technologies that extend healthy human lifespan. On Clubhouse / Spotify 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.

  • forum.longevitybase.org - An open question and answer system for aging biology and longevity biotechnology. 

Support

A special thanks to my Patreon supporters who have joined forces with me to undertake this mission.