#034: June 9th, 2021 - Longevity Marketcap Telemetry
Aducanumab! VitaDAO token sale. Lineage Cell. Non-Traditional.
Last Week in Longevity
Capital Raise Radar
New Companies on Longevity List
*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.
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forum.longevitybase.org - A “StackExchange / Quora” for aging biology / longevity biotech. 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.
The Longevity Biotech Show is officially a podcast! Check us out on Spotify and also Apple Podcasts.
Longevity Virtual Coworking. Every Friday. Drop in hours: 12PM - 5PM EDT.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.) (Room Link)
The 1% Bet for Longevity-- a website initiative.39 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.
Humans For Longevity. A project featuring a collection of stories from people who care about longevity and their motivations.
📝 Last Week in Longevity
Errata: The original version of this article incorrectly stated that Rubedo Life Science’s lead program was a “galacto-conjugate prodrug”. This has been corrected to “prodrug”.
Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug aducanumab gets FDA approval. On Monday, the FDA made a controversial decision to grant accelerated approval to Biogen’s aducanumab antibody therapy to treat Alzheimer’s disease. The approval is conditional on the requirement of Phase 4 trials that confirm aducanumab’s efficacy within nine years, or the approval could be rescinded by the FDA. This marks the first new drug approved for Alzheimer’s disease in 20 years.
The approval was surprising. An independent expert committee convened last November voted overwhelmingly (10 objections, 1 abstain) against the approval of aducanumab, citing a failure to show strong evidence of its effectiveness to reduce cognitive decline. Biogen conducted two Phase 3 studies of aducanumab in Alzheimer’s disease, of which only one trial met a clinical endpoint of reduction of cognitive decline. The FDA’s decision of accelerated approval hinged on aducanumab’s demonstration of removal of beta-amyloid plaques, which the FDA “expects” will lead to a reduction in cognitive decline. The amyloid hypothesis is not a settled fact so this expectation is uncertain. On the plus side, this approval might pave the way for more favorable views on surrogate endpoints -- something that will be needed for trials in aging.
The chatter on biotech Twitter / longevity Twitter was mostly of disbelief and cries of FDA corruption. There were a few notable sympathizers with the decision. Robert Nelson of ARCH Venture Partners believed that the conditional approval was the right move. Others did not mince words.
Alzheimer’s disease is a manifestation of aging in the brain -- the risk factor goes up exponentially with age. Of note: 20-year-olds don’t get Alzheimer’s disease. The paradigm of the longevity therapeutics industry is that we can prevent age-related diseases like Alzheimer’s if we can treat the root cause (aging) before the pathology is possibly too far advanced to treat without replacement therapies like those championed by Jean Hebert.
VitaDAO announces token sale from June 18th - June 23rd. VitaDAO is a decentralized autonomous organization that seeks to fund longevity research and commercialize the resulting intellectual property -- all on the Ethereum blockchain.
The VitaDAO tokens generated in the “genesis” event starting June 18th give holders voting rights for research proposals, commercialization, and the operation of the DAO. Those that would like to participate in the token sale will need a non-exchange crypto wallet, such as Metamask, holding the desired amount of Ether (i.e Ethereum) they want to put into the sale (+network gas fees). Further instructions on how to interact with the genesis event smart contract will be released soon. See VitaDAO’s discord group for more information.
Lineage Cell Therapeutics (NYSE:LCTX) announces additional cases of retinal restoration, OpRegen cell therapy. Lineage Cell Therapeutics is a regenerative medicine cell therapy company that develops allogeneic cell therapies to treat dry age-related macular degeneration (dry AMD), spinal cord injury, and cancer. Last week, the company announced two additional cases of sustained restoration (~ 6 months post-treatment) of retinal tissue in patients with dry AMD treated with Lineage’s OpRegen RPE cell replacement therapy. Visual acuity in these patients was also above baseline after 6 months. Lineage’s stock surged 26% on the news.
Dry AMD is an age-related ocular disease that leads to vision loss. It is characterized by the buildup of drusen deposits under the retina, and loss of retinal pigment epithelial cells (RPE cells) and photoreceptors. Dry AMD affects ~ 9 million people in the US alone and there are no effective FDA-approved treatments.
Lineage’s data is a remarkable result and a major win for replacement therapies and regenerative medicine: It is a reversal of CNS tissue damage caused by aging. While other companies like Astellas had attempted a similar RPE cell therapy in the past, the results of improved visual acuity were not sustained past 3 years.
HCW Biologics files for IPO. HCW Biologics is a clinical-stage Florida-based biotech that develops fusion protein therapies that modulate inflammaging in order to treat cancer and other age-related diseases. Last week, the company announced it was seeking to raise $50M in an IPO listing on the NASDAQ. Their S-1 can be found here.
Of note, HCW Biologic’s HCW9218 is designed to block transforming growth factor-ß (TGF-ß), which is believed to have immunosuppressive and pro-cellular senescence activity. Initial indications for HCW9218 are cancer (to remove chemotherapy-induced senescent cells) and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).
Inflammation and immune system dysregulation have been linked to aging (“inflammaging”) and there are several companies developing anti-aging therapeutics in these contexts. The connection between senescent cells, SASP, cancer, and chemotherapy is being targeted by longevity startups like Rejuversen and Oncosence.
Loyal announces partnership with Morris Hospital to study aging in golden retrievers. Loyal is a startup founded by Celine Halioua that is developing anti-aging drugs to extend lifespan first in dogs. The company recently announced a partnership with Morris Hospital to do a lifespan/cancer aging study in golden retrievers -- a breed known for its propensity to cancer. Loyal will measure DNA methylation in blood samples collected over nine years of life of the retrievers in the study.
Ostensibly this will allow the company to develop a methylation clock specific to golden retrievers that might be predictive of mortality or disease. Loyal is already conducting their own shorter multi-breed dog healthspan study in collaboration with multiple veterinarian clinics in the United States.
Rubedo Life Science announces partnership with Cedars-Mount Sinai for IPF study. Rubedo Life Science is a Khosla Ventures-backed anti-aging drug startup co-founded by Marco Quarta. The company’s lead program is a prodrug that clears senescent cells in order to treat idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). Last week Rubedo announced a partnership with Cedars-Mount Sinai Medical Center to advance their IPF trial to the clinic. For more about Rubedo Life Science, check out my interview with CEO and co-founder, Marco Quarta on The Longevity Biotech Show.
Thoughts on why resTORbio’s Phase 3 Trial failed. resTORbio was a Novartis spinout that was developing a rapamycin analog to treat aging. It failed its Phase 3 trial in November 2019. A recent report published in The Lancet from the team at resTORbio gave insight into the full analysis of their Phase 2/3 trials of RTB101, an mTOR inhibitor similar to rapamycin. In both trials, RTB101 administration was well tolerated and lead to an increased upregulation of IFN-induced antiviral responses in elderly patients.
Matt Kaeberlein, a researcher at Washington University and one of the leads at the Dog Aging Project (which includes a small rapamycin trial), believes that results published by resTORbio are actually quite promising for mTOR inhibitors. The failure of the RTB101 Phase 3 trial appears to be have been due to the FDA’s request to change the endpoint selection to a reduction of respiratory tract infection as measured by self-reported symptom questionnaires instead of laboratory-confirmed tests (as in Phase 2).
resTORbio was formed as a Novartis spinout helmed by Joan Mannick (now at Life Biosciences, David Sinclair’s anti-aging umbrella company). After restTORbio’s failure, it underwent a reverse-merger with Adicet Bio, a CAR-T biotech company. resTORbio still has data forthcoming in a Phase 2 Covid-19 prophylaxis trial conducted in partnership with the National Institutes on Aging. The trial was slated to be completed in February 2021.
📅 Longevity Futures
Thursday, June 10th, 2021 @ 1:00PM PDT / 4:00PM EDT: Sebastian Brunemeier (ex Apollo Health Ventures, Cambrian Biopharma) on The Longevity Biotech Show, Clubhouse App.
Join us for a conversation with Sebastian Brunememeier, co-founder of Cambrian Biopharma and former venture capitalist at Apollo Health Ventures.
Clubhouse app is now on Android.
For past recordings and show schedule visit: LongevityBiotechShow.com or Spotify. Here are some previous episodes:
#010: Jean Hebert (Albert Einstein College of Medicine) - April 22nd, 2021.
June 10th @ 9:30AM ET. ARK Innovation and Commercialisation Series: In Conversation with Jim Mellon. Jim Mellon is a billionaire longevity investor, co-founder of Juvenescence, and author of the book of the same name.
June 11th @ 9:45 AM CET. RESETaging conference. Speakers includ Manuel Serrano, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, and more.
June 15th @ 1PM ET. MEGA Longevity Panel: The scientists working on reversing aging. Avi Roy (Oxford), Laura Minquini (MYKIGAI), and I have organized an incredible panel of some of the biggest names in anti-aging / longevity including Aubrey de Grey, David Sinclair, Jean Hebert, Joao Pedro de Magalhaes, David Gobel, Greg Fahy, Liz Parrish, and Alexandra Stolzing.
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.
July 8th @ 4PM PT. Science of Aging Seminar by Martin Borch Jensen (Gordian Biotechnology). Hosted by 50 Years -- a venture capital firm founded by Seth Bannon. (Likely an investor in Gordian -- see website)
July 20th - 23rd, 2021. American Aging Association Annual Meeting / Conference. Speakers include Andrew Brack (UCSF, Arrive Bio), Morgan Levine, Vadim Gladyshev, Luigi Ferrucci.
August 31st, 2021 - September 3, 2021. Aging Research and Drug Discovery Conference 2021.Online. $49 for a 3-day pass. The first day of the conference is free to attend. An incredible lineup of speakers including David Sinclair, Alex Zhavoronkov, Thomas Rando, Peter de Keizer, Collin Ewald, Kristen Fortney, Nir Barzilai, Brian Kennedy, Manuel Serrano, Vera Gorbunova, and many others.
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.
Stealth reprogramming startup // Seed // (email for details)
Not publicly disclosed.
Email me for details.
Rubedo Life Sciences // Series A // mentioned on The Longevity Biotech Show
Raising Series A in the very near future.
Developing a drug discovery platform first focussing on prodrugs to target senescent cells in a selective manner.
Team: Marco Quarta (Stanford), Julian Klein, Marc Gallop
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)
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.
Ponce de Leon Health // Raising $15M // Article:
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.
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.
Senior Project Manager, Research // AgelessRx // Remote
Research Associate, Scientist- Boominathan Lab // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
Postdoctoral Research Fellow // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
Research Associate // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
C elegans Research Scientist// Magnitude Biosciences // Durham, England
Research Associate Immunology // SENS Research Foundation // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist - Applications// Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
Senior Scientist - Technology // Turn Bio // Mountain View, California
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?
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
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.
HCW Biologics: A company developing fusion proteins to modulate the immune system and inflammation to treat cancer and age-related diseases. HCW9028 is a TGF-beta inhibitor that acts on the nexus of senescence, SASP, and immune system dysregulation. HCW9028 is being developed to treat cancer (in the context of chemotherapy-induced senescence) and IPF.
Myoforte Therapeutics: A company developing regenerative medicine to treat Duchenne muscular dystrophy, local muscle atrophy, and sarcopenia. Myoforte’s key asset is a small molecule drug that activates muscle stem cells to regenerate muscle (in mice). It achieves this by inhibiting 15-PGDH, which in turn raises levels of prostaglandin E2. The company is a spinout from Helen Blau’s lab at Stanford. *Thanks to a reader from Japan for this company tip.
Synthetic Biologic (NYSE:SYN): A publicly traded company that develops a recombinant version of intestinal alkaline phosphatase -- a protein enzyme that increases median lifespan in mice by ~+40%. The company also develops other drugs that target the gut microbiome or gut barrier health.
Not everyone in longevity comes from the traditional biology track. The overarching mission of the longevity biotech industry tends to draw in people from diverse fields -- many from outside of the biological sciences.
This is a good thing. Not only does it reinforces the notion that anyone can get involved in longevity, it also increases the diversity of thought and approaches to the problem of aging. Historically speaking, some of the biggest advances in biology were catalyzed by those outside the field (Delbruck, Schrodinger, and Crick, for instance)
Here’s a list of just some of the prominent people within the longevity industry that came from backgrounds outside of the traditional biological sciences.
Note: There are also ways to get involved in the longevity industry that are specifically NOT biology or AI machine learning jobs. See LongevityList.com for job listings.
Note 2: A majority of the founders of longevity-focussed venture funds do not come from traditional biotech.
Aubrey de Grey
Affiliation: Founder SENS Research Foundation
Background: Computer science, AI
Aubrey de Grey is considered one of the founders of the anti-aging field. He was the first to popularize the idea of damage repair with the seven SENS categories of aging damage -- very similar to the mainstream nine Hallmarks of Aging that would come several years later. His popular book, Ending Aging, inspired countless numbers of people to get involved in solving the problem of biological aging (the author of this newsletter included).
Despite being one of the founders of the anti-aging space, he has no formal biology training. Aubrey de Grey received a Bachelor’s degree in computer science from Cambridge and worked as an artificial intelligence researcher at Sinclair Research. He learned biology on his own from reading papers and attending conferences. He proposed a theory of aging, the Mitochondrial Free Radical Theory of Aging, in his book of the same name published in 1999. For this publication, he was awarded a Ph.D. from Cambridge.
Affiliation: Founder, The Longevity Fund
Background: Physics, Cynthia Kenyon’s Lab.
In 2011, Laura Deming, a Thiel Fellow and former protege of Cynthia Kenyon, founded the first longevity-focussed venture fund at the age of 17. Although she did some C. elegans biology work in Kenyon’s lab when she was 14, she actually went on to study physics at MIT. Laura Deming would later drop out after being awarded a Thiel Fellowship. The rest is history.
Laura Deming’s style of thought is heavily influenced by physics (She live streams Gedanken experiments on Twitch, has a fondness for bionumbers, first principles thinking, etc). Her fund, The Longevity Fund, invests in companies that sometimes have an unusual aging angle.
Affiliation: Oisin Biotechnologies, OncoSenX, Immusoft
Background: Computer science, physics
Matt Scholz started his career in computer science and computer security. His first biotech company, Immusoft, was envisioned as the first app store for the human body. Scholz started the company after he spent a couple of years self-learning biology by reading biomedical papers and inundating academic researchers with questions.
Currently, Matt is running two biotech companies, OncoSenX and Oisin Biotechnologies -- gene therapy companies in oncology and aging respectively. He has repeatedly stated that his north star belief for these companies is that “the essence of life is information”.
Affiliation: Founder, Spring Discovery
Background: Software engineering, computer science
Ben Kamens was founding engineer and VP of Engineering at Khan Academy. He earned his Bachelor’s degree in computer science and philosophy from Duke University. In a Clubhouse conversation with General Catalyst’s Katherine Boyle earlier this year, he recounted how he self-learned biology and went down the proverbial “rabbit hole” of aging biology.
In 2017, with the encouragement of Laura Deming, he founded Spring Discovery, a startup with a drug discovery platform that uses AI/ML and lab automation to develop therapies that treat aging and its diseases. Spring Discovery raised an $18M Series A in 2018.
Affiliation: Repair Biotechnologies, FightAging.org
Background: Space physics, astrophysics
Reason has been writing about aging biology since 2002 at his blog fightaging.org -- one of the best resources in longevity and aging biology. He received Master’s degrees in Space Physics and Astrophysics.
In 2018 he founded Repair Biotechnologies alongside Bill Cherman. The company is developing a gene therapy to degrade cholesterol plaques in order to treat atherosclerosis.
Affiliation: CEO Equator Therapeutics, formerly Head of Data Science BioAge Labs
Jonah Sinick received his Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Illinois (focus on number theory and hyperbolic geometry). He was formerly head of Data Science at Kristen Fortney’s BioAge Labs before he became CEO of Equator Therapeutics -- a Y Combinator startup that is developing a mitochondrial uncoupler drug.
Affiliation: Founder, Gero
Peter Fedichev is a theoretical physicist and biotechnology founder. He received his Master’s in Physics at Moscow State University and his Ph.D at Amsterdam University. He was an assistant professor of physics at the University of Innsbruck.
At some point around 2012 Peter Fedichev switched from writing mostly physics papers with titles like “Liquid-liquid phase transition model incorporating evidence for ferroelectric state near the lambda-point anomaly in supercooled water” to more biology and drug discovery related papers. In 2012, Fedichev co-founded Gero, an AI drug discovery startup that leverages data from whole-exome sequencing.
Note: Fedichev’s LinkedIn profile reads: “Сuring the uncurable with Landau Lifshitz book and a bit of AI”. Landau and Lifshitz is a legendary tome on theoretical physics.
Affiliation: Founder, Retro Biosciences, Vium
Background: Earth sciences, robotics, biophysics
Joe Betts-LaCroix’s background is multi-disciplinary to the extreme. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in earth sciences, a Master’s degree in robotics at MIT, and did biophysics research at Caltech. He has experience founding DNA sequencing and electronics companies, built the world’s smallest personal computer at a time, and was also a co-founder of Vium -- a digital vivarium company.
He is currently the founder of Retro Biosciences, a startup that uses high-throughput, high-dimensional approaches to develop therapies for diseases driven by the biology of aging.
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 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.
Humans for Longevity - A literary art project featuring the stories and motivations behind the people working on solving the problem of aging.
Longevity List Merch Store- T-shirts and apparel to support my work. 10% of profit goes to SENS, João Pedro de Magalhaes’s lab, and the PEARL Rapamycin trial.
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.