Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity Company Investment Opportunities
November 21, 2023
2017 research from the Stanford Center on Longevity concluded that Generation X, people born between 1965 and 1980, are expected to live 20-30 years longer than previous generations. A 45-year-old woman in excellent health has a 20% chance of living to 100. An equivalently healthy man has an 11% chance of living to 100.
Which companies are attempting to make this happen? Can you invest in them? Should you?
Question: “What’s the easiest way to make a small fortune?”
Answer: “Start with a large one!”
In 2021 and 2022, those who invested in the US Biotech Index (ETF: XBI), lost 44% and 26% respectively. So far in 2023, XBI is down over another 20%! XBI is historically volatile and has the potential to go significantly lower. Emerging biotech companies spend tens of millions of dollars each year to conduct trials and progress their pipelines of candidates. Presently, there is intense competition to raise sustaining capital among public and private companies. High borrowing rates are making fundraising quite expensive, putting pressure on XBI companies to survive. That said, at their current market valuations, Big Pharma has the cash to buy all of the XBI companies!
[Necessary disclaimer]: Keep Health is not an investment advisor and the content of this website is not to be used for making or refraining from investment decisions. The information provided is for general information purposes only. It may not be suitable for your situation. Although Keep Health has made every effort to ensure accuracy of the information, Keep Health makes no representation about accuracy and completeness. Keep Health does not assume and hereby disclaims any liability to any party for any loss or commercial damages, including, but not limited to special, incidental, consequential, or other damages or disruption caused by errors or omissions which result from accident, negligence or any other cause. [End disclaimer]
How much does wealth matter for increasing healthspan?
How much does wealth matter to enjoy living those extra healthy years?
Does it make sense to invest in anti-aging, healthspan, life extension and longevity companies?
Keep Health does not recommend investing in this sector unless you are an expert or getting trusted expert advice. There has been a tremendous amount of money made and lost investing in life sciences and healthcare companies. We do not want you to be on the “lost” side, especially because of anything you read here. There are plenty of people who claim to be experts in healthspan investing and want you to pay them for their expertise. There are few with verifiable track records of success.
Emerging healthcare startups are speculative investments and are more likely to be overvalued than undervalued. It is risky to try to take advantage of over-valuations with short selling or buying put options because emerging companies may be bought by large companies for premium valuations. Warren Buffett once said that as an investor, it is wise to be “Fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” Market timing for investments is important and following sources like CNN’s Fear and Greed Index and Investor’s Business Daily’s Market Trends can provide a sense for when the market is overbought or oversold.
Keep Health’s investment opportunities cover notable healthspan, life extension and longevity-focused Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs), venture capital funds and a few individual public companies. Here are some interesting emerging companies in the healthspan space attempting to be the leaders in making these longevity gains happen. We highlight their progress, strengths and weaknesses. They may or may not be successful investments. Even if they are successful, it is important to understand their fundamentals to determine whether they are valued appropriately.
Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity ETF Investing Opportunities
There are two interesting ETFs focused on profiting from increasing number of elderly people in the world. To get a sense for the size of the rapidly growing market these companies are pursuing, see the 2019 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development report: Fiscal Challenges and Inclusive Growth in Ageing Societies.
- Global X Aging Population Thematic ETF (AGNG) (previously traded as LNGR) — Optimistic View of Aging
- Tracks an index of mostly large-cap equities from companies involved in lifespan extension and improved quality of life efforts for senior citizens.
- Includes companies from developed countries who derive the majority of their revenue or whose stated business objective falls under the “longevity” label. 37% of investments are in companies outside the United States.
- AGNG has an expense ratio of 0.50% and a five year average return of 7.6%. It declined 8.6% in 2022, a good result compared to the rest of the market.
- So far in 2023, AGNG is down 4.4%.
- ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (ARKG)
- Invests in companies expected to substantially benefit from extending and enhancing the quality of human and other life by incorporating technological and scientific developments and advancements in genomics into their business.
- ARKG companies are creating advancements within CRISPR, targeted therapeutics, bioinformatics, molecular diagnostics, stem cells and agricultural biology.
- ARKG launched in October 2014 and has an expense ratio of 0.75%. It is quite volatile, rising 129% in 2020 before declining over 30% in 2021 and over 50% in 2022. It is down another 18% in 2023. These extreme gains and losses have generated a negative 2.3% average 5 year annual return.
An ETF called OLD, which focused on the pessimistic aspects of aging , was “retired” in 2021.
Venture Capital Firms Focused on Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity Investment Opportunities
Since 2016, over 225 private anti-aging companies have formed, many with compelling ideas for new treatments based on recent scientific advancements. As Sebastian Brunemaier of Healthspan Capital noted at the 2022 Ending Age-Related Diseases conference, “anti-aging investments have gone from fringe to fashionable.”
- Healthspan Capital
- Founded by Sebastian Brunemaier, Michael Chinen and Nathan Cheng.
- Rolling fund lets investors start investing in longevity in a way that’s simple and flexible through AngelList.
- Investments include:
- Deciduous Therapeutics — activating the endogenous immune system to eliminate senescent cells.
- Equator Therapeutics — According to Sebastian, could become best selling drug of all-time, if it works. It is a natural mitochondrial heat production for 2 pounds of weight loss per week.
- Etheros Pharmaceuticals — Predictive validity in R&D.
- ImmuneAge Bio — Hematopoietic stem cells to rejuvenate bone marrow and keep your immune system healthy.
- Immune Bridge — allogeneic cell therapies as cancer cures.
- Immunis Biomedical — growing human stem cells to secrete factors which modulate age-related immune deficiencies. Launching phase 1/2a clinical trial for immune-mediated muscle atrophy.
- KetoSwiss — fuel for brains.
- Matter Bio — stealth company focused on reversing age-driven information loss. Their first intervention focuses on reversing age-accumulated somatic DNA mutations.
- Metanoia — platform for functional tissue regeneration.
- Molecule — marketplace for research projects
- Repair Bio — cholesterol degrading platform.
- Reservoir Neuroscience — therapeutics to heal blood-brain barrier.
- Shift Bioscience — machine learning on how to reset cells to a youthful state.
- Stemistry — immune system regeneration.
- Vincere — addressing deficient mitophagy.
- WeatherWax Bio — induced proximity medicines.
- Zoe Biosciences — anti-aging therapeutics focused on the PAI-1 / apelin axis.
- Juvenescence Ltd (UK)
- Co-founded by British billionaire Jim Mellon in 2018.
- Led by Dr. Greg Bailey (Exec Chairman) and Dr. Richard Marshall (CEO). Pursuing opportunities within projected growth of longevity market to $600B by 2025.
- Sought to raise $150MM C-Round in Q4, 2020, then progress to an IPO in 1H 2021. However, this did not move forward. They have been trying to IPO for several years, previously raising $165MM.
- Preclinical and clinical pipeline investments include:
- AgeX Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AGE). Details on AgeX below in publicly traded company section of this article.
- BYOMass, therapeutics to modulate the central control of metabolism associated with aging and age-related chronic illnesses based on work of Margaret Jackson. Targeting congestive heart failure and chronic kidney disease. Preclinical stage.
- LyGenesis focuses on organ regeneration. Their Phase 2a lead clinical trial started in March, 2022 for patients with end stage liver disease. They raised another $19 million in October 2023 to continue to fund this. The primary completion date is February 22, 2026. They initiate regeneration by injecting hepatocytes (liver cells) into the patient’s lymph nodes that drain into the liver and the bile duct. Also, LyGenesis is creating additional cell therapies using lymph nodes as bioreactors to regrow functioning organs, including pancreas, kidney, and thymus regeneration.
- MDI Therapeutics, focused on the treatment of fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders using serine-protease therapies.
- Morphoceuticals focuses on regeneration by allowing patients to regrow tissues within their own bodies.
- Napa Therapeutics, founded by The Buck Institute, Insilico Medicine, and Juvenescence to develop drugs to impede age-related disease. Focused on targeting CD38-dependent NAD+ metabolism to fight age-associated diseases.
- Project Ether from Renescence, a lipid precursor to reduce cognitive impairment.
- Selah Therapeutics, provide ketone-based therapies for the well-being of patients with heart disease and epilepsy. Preclinical stage.
- Souvien Therapeutics, 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, on the epigenetic regulation of cellular aging in neurodegeneration.
- Within the data science division:
- Insilico Medicine artificial intelligence for drug discovery, biomarker development and aging research and Generait Pharmaceuticals (formerly Juvenescence AI), a 2017 joint venture with Insilico. Generait Pharmaceuticals gets first dibs on any five compounds per year that Insilico’s AI drug discovery platform develops. Juvenescence AI was formed to investigate the therapeutic properties of specific compounds. Mellon is particularly optimistic that this venture can develop a “senolytic” drug that helps the body clear out cells that have stopped dividing and can damage other cells.
- Juvenomics — a joint venture with G3 Therapeutics for developing validated nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals to combat aging and aging-related diseases such as those of the musculoskeletal system. Juvenomics is built on the unique combination of G3 Therapeutics ‘ proprietary, multi-omic biological dataset, consisting of trillions of proprietary data points collected in the GLOBAL Clinical Study (NCT01738838) of over 7,500 patients, and the unique machine learning platforms assembled by Juvenescence.
- Relation Therapeutics, seeks to find unknown connections between drugs and diseases with the hope of repurposing drugs for new clinical trials.
- Juvenescence’s Products:
- BOPZ Nutrition, Joint venture between Juvenescence and The Buck Institute for Research on Aging developing proprietary ketone esters in the companion animal nutritional feed market. (not available yet)
- Chrysea Labs, Nutritional products to increase autophagy and expected to improve cognition, boost immunity and help bones, cardiac health, skin and hair. (not available yet)
- Cognitive Switch is a powdered beverage drink which combines licensing and technology from:
- BHB Therapeutics focuses on approaches to induce a state of ketosis, which may have protective effects against age-related disease. Have formulated an inexpensive direct-to-consumer ketone ester beverage product that is geroprotective, neuroprotective and cardioprotective, providing 8+ years of healthspan benefit. Mammals such as mice live 25% longer.
- Evgen‘s cruciferous vegetable extract Sulforaphane which removes toxic metabolites and markers of inflammation.
- Likely failed investments
- Fox Bio, 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. Prior Juvenescence investment, Portage Pharmaceuticals was likely integrated within FoxBio. Portage provides a p53 suppressing senolytic as well as a potential novel drug delivery system. No news since 2018.
- Juvenescence’s RX Division planned to enter two to four drugs into human clinical trials clinic in 2021 for obesity, cachexia, immunometabolism and fibrosis, as well as combinations of those products. This did not happen.
- JuvYou Division planned to launch a web and app-based personalized healthcare recommendations in 1H 2021 based on inputs such as blood sugar and VO2 Max. This did not happen.
- NetraPharma is (was?) a 50/50 partnership between Juvenescence and NetraMark Corp, and is a clinical-development focused machine learning company. NetraPharma helps companies with failed clinical trials identify overlooked subpopulations of responding patients. NetraPharma is no longer listed on Juvenescence’s website with no news since 2019.
- Longevity Vision Fund (LVF)
- Founded by Sergey Young.
- Raised $100MM and is dedicated to making longevity affordable and accessible to all.
- Invested in Juvenescence in Oct, 2019 as well as Insilico Medicine and Lygenesis.
- Invested in Life Biosciences, focused on becoming the leader in epigenetic reprogramming, chaperone-mediated autophagy and mitochondrial uncoupling.
- Invested in Fountain Life, health clinics led by Tony Robbins, Peter Diamandis and Robert Hariri. Locations include Naples, FL and White Plains, NY.
- Full LVF portfolio includes biolinq, Cambrian Bio, Deep Longevity, Eko Health, EXO Imaging, freenome, laronde, Senda, Tessera and Valo Health.
- Three portfolio companies have gone public:
- 4D Molecular Therapeutics (NASDAQ: FDMT) — Gene therapy platform with an AAV discovery platform targeting specific tissue types in a broad range of diseases.
- Agronomics (London: ANIC OTC: AGNMF)— Clean meat focused platform investing in a portfolio of lab grown and plant based alternatives of traditional meat.
- Sigilon Therapeutics (NASDAQ: SGTX) — Encapsulated cell therapy platform to treat serious chronic diseases without fibrosis or immune rejection. Acquired by Lilly in August, 2023.
- Longevity Investor Network
- Angel investing network focused on top aging-focused biotech startup opportunities. Monthly pitches from 2-3 companies. No membership fee.
- Offer an excellent free daily newsletter on anti-aging research.
- Longevity VC (USA)
- Run by Laura Deming
- Raised $37MM.
- 5 IPOs already among healthspan and life extension investments:
- Anagenex — AI-generated drug discovery
- Arda Therapeutics — pathogenic cell removal
- Conception — turning stem cells into human eggs
- Decibel Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DBTX) — age-related hearing loss (IPO 2021)
- Deciduous Therapeutics
- Epirium — mitochondrial biogenesis
- Fauna Bio — Drug discovery informed by hibernating mammals
- General Proximity Bio — induced proximity medicines
- Gordian — a gene therapy discovery platform to improve therapeutic R&D for diseases of aging
- Loyal — life extension for dogs
- Navitor Pharmaceuticals — mTOR-based therapeutics
- Rubedo — underlying biological drivers of chronic diseases
- Unity Biotechnology (NASDAQ: UBX) — senolytics (IPO 2018)
- Science.xyz — fearless pursuit of medicine’s hardest problems
- Spring Discovery — accelerating the discovery of therapies for aging using AI
- Also have disease discovery and treatment focused investments in ALX Oncology (2020 IPO NASDAQ: ALXO), Metacrine (2020 IPO NASDAQ: MTCR), Precision BioSciences (2019 IPO NASDAQ: DTIL) and System 1.
- Launched age1, another longevity fund. One investment to date:
- Aperture Therapeutics — seeking to cure neurodegenerative diseases and delay brain-aging
- Maximon (Switzerland)
- $100MM longevity focused fund and incubator for longevity “pre-unicorn” startups from seed to A-Series round, led by Tobias Reichmuth
- Companies include:
- Avea – Swiss longevity supplement company. Selling NMN and boosters.
- Ayun — a network of walk-in longevity and healthspan clinics with the first in Zurich.
- Biolytica – big data health consultancy for longevity solutions.
- Frieda — support for coping with menopausal symptoms.
- Mana — an upscale curated form of living for active and healthy seniors to extend healthspan.
- Plus upcoming launches for skin rejuvenation, microbiome and proteomics companies.
- Methusaleh Fund LLC (Washington, D.C.), the venture arm of the non-profit Methusaleh Foundation.
- Designed to accelerate results in the longevity field, extending the healthy human lifespan.
- Current investments:
- Leucadia Therapeutics — created Arethusta®, a first-in-class outpatient treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Re-enables healthy flow of cerebrospinal fluid allowing for removal of toxic brain waste materials.
- Oisín Biotechnologies — developing a highly precise, DNA-targeting platform to clear senescent cells. Oisín’s platform has shown as much as an 80% reduction in senescent cells in cell culture and significant reductions of senescent cell burden in naturally aged mice.
- OncoSenx — pre-clinical cancer company targeting solid tumors based on transcriptional activity using a unique lipid nanoparticle and plasmid DNA.
- Turn Bio — mRNA technology to turn mature differentiated cells to a dramatically younger state, without first turning them into totipotent or pluripotent cells. Focused on helping the brain and body to repair themselves and fight diseases more effectively.
- Viscient Biosciences — drug discovery using 3D tissues.
- Volumetric Bio — creating 3D printed organs using bioprinting.
- WinSanTor — developing a therapy to prevent and reverse nerve damage.
- X-Therma — stops ice formation during preservation processes.
- Quadrascope (Boston and Israel)
- Established in 2022, led by Fiona Miller and José Navarro-Betancourt.
- Invest in anti-aging therapies and technologies with clear, measurable benefits.
- Current portfolio investments include:
- Alden Scientific — enabling personalized medicine and drug discovery via machine learning.
- BioChange — restoring body functions and tissues lost with age with its innovative CellFoam™ scaffold technology. It stimulates damaged tissues to regenerate and cellular therapies to engraftment. Focused on gum loss and facial fillers as initial targets.
- Cosmica Biosciences — accelerating drug discovery for longevity.
- Deciduous Therapeutics
- Healthy Longevity Clinic — locations in Boca Raton, Florida and Prague, CZ.
- Immunis Biomedical
- Matter Bio — DNA fault detection and repair.
- Nanotics — engineering subtractive nanoparticles to clear tumor-generated immune-inhibiting pathogens from blood.
- Repair Bio
- Turn Bio
Small-Cap Publicly Traded Companies Focused on Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity Opportunities
There are about 32 publicly traded, small cap companies focused on healthspan, life extension and longevity opportunities. Since 2019, Keep Health has covered five high risk, high reward, small-cap companies. Similar to their peers, they have struggled mightily over the past few years and continue to do so.
- AgeX Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AGE)
- Targeted age-related degeneration with therapeutics that reverse aging and induce regeneration.
- IPO’d in November 2018, peaking at a $5.95 / share and a $200 million market cap before falling below 0.40 / share and a 15 million market cap as of this article.
- Grand ambitions for multiple initiatives and targets, but failed to raise funding and make commercial progress over five years. Layoffs in 2020 left them with a minimal staff.
- In March 2023, merged with Serina Therapeutics with AgeX as the name of the surviving company. Prior to the merger, Juvenescence had a 53.7% ownership, acquired at ~$2/share. Post merger, Juvenescence’s $36M in loans to AgeX were converted into preferred A and B series shares.
- AgeX has $4MM remaining in cash and a $2MM / quarter burn rate.
- AgeX progress can be followed on X at iTR@ResetYourClock (Induced Tissue Regeneration).
- AgeX claimed leadership in high purity induced pluripotent stem cells (IPS) to restore organ function or grow replacement organs.
- IPS can be re-differentiated into human tissue types. Non-pure IPS have minority of cells in undifferentiated stage or differentiated in the wrong direction.
- Believed they could repair organs by eliminating cells in a damaged state and then restore using AgeX IPS in-situ (in the body).
- 400+ patents and patent applications worldwide for pluripotency therapeutics.
- AgeX has three subsidiaries, Reverse Bio, ReCyte Therapeutics, Inc. (“ReCyte”) and NeuroAirmid. These subsidiaries are early stage pre-clinical research and development companies. AgeX owns 100%, 94.8%, and 50% of the outstanding capital stock of Reverse Bio, ReCyte, and NeuroAirmid, respectively.
- AgeX’s restructuring plans also include a potential spinoff of Reverse Bio through a distribution of some or all of the shares of capital stock of Reverse Bio held by AgeX to AgeX stockholders following a financing of Reverse Bio through the sale of shares of Reverse Bio common stock to private investors. If the Reverse Bio spinoff is completed, Reverse Bio would become a separate publicly traded company.
- Reverse Bio therapeutics include:
- BAT1 to correct metabolic imbalances in aging including to reverse age-related changes in metabolism, especially those who suffer from obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
- Partial cellular reprogramming technology, Induced Tissue Regeneration “iTR™”.
- Amarin (NASDAQ:AMRN)
- CEO and board of directors departed in March, 2023. New board is led by Sarissa Capital Management.
- Provide Vascepa (USA) / Vaskepa (EU brand name) for icosapent ethyl, the active ingredient in fish oil. They have no other products.
- Clinically proven to reduce triglycerides and cardiovascular risks such as heart attacks and strokes.
- Amarin’s Reduce-IT trial showed it substantially cut major adverse CV events by 25% over about 4.9 years in statin takers with blood fat levels of 150 mg/dL or higher.
- Market Cap of ~$314MM down from $7.5B as of Jan 1, 2020.
- ~$500MM+ in assets – liabilities. Tangible book value of $1.3 / share, well above the stock price.
- 2022 revenue of $368MM down from 2021 revenue of $580MM and 2020 revenue of $615MM. 2023 revenues have continued to decline each quarter and will be < $300MM.
- Analyst earnings projections are for losses of 0.17 share for 2023 and 0.16 / share for 2024. In July, 2023, Amarin laid off their US sales force and additional personnel to save $40MM per year in expenses.
- Believe they have regulatory exclusivity in ex-US major global markets through 2028-2033.
- In March, 2020, lost patent protection in the United States where analysts expected a $3-4B market opportunity. Their appeal of the decision failed in September 2020.
- Received EU approval in March 2021 for what analysts estimate is a $650MM annual revenue market opportunity, but this hasn’t moved forward. Received Canadian approval as well. Are pursuing approval for
- Planning launches into Asia and the Middle East as well.
- Alternative proprietary competitive solutions such as Epanova have been discontinued. However, they are facing stiff competition from less-expensive generics produced by Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Reddy’s. They are profitable in the United States, but revenues are declining significantly.
- Vascepa contains only purified EPA, whereas Epanova included both EPA and DHA. As FiercePharma writes, “Evidence suggests that DHA may raise the level of bad LDL cholesterol, which is itself a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. So, it’s possible that DHA’s presence has compromised Epanova’s CV disease reduction ability.” This impurity is rather ironic given EPAnova’s name.
- Chromadex (NASDAQ: CDXC)
- Leader in product sales and IP for anti-aging dietary supplement Nicotinamide Riboside (NR) which is a precursor to NAD production. NAD declines in humans by 50% from ages 40-60 and is a critical co-enzyme in cellular metabolism, energy production and cell defense and repair.
- Chromadex’s Tru-Niagen increases NAD by 40-50% after 8 weeks of supplementation. Manufacturing patents through 2037.
- NR has been validated for safety and efficiency, although an excessive increase in NR can contribute to cancer progression.
- Market cap of ~$110MM, down from $500MM in April 2021 as revenue growth rate slowed considerably.
- 2022 revenue of 72MM below analyst projections of 98MM. 2021 revenue of ~68MM. 2020 revenue of ~$60MM. Tru-Niagen can be ordered online directly from Chromadex or Amazon. Net loss of 16.5MM in 2022, however, near-breakeven in Q4, 2022 with $21MM in revenue. On target for $84MM analyst revenue projection for 2023 and adjusted EBITDA breakeven.
- ~$27MM cash. No debt.
- Numerous lawsuits with competitor Elysium Health and their product Signal. The legal battle between them is covered here with more of the history behind the dispute here. Chromadex did not win patent exclusivity for NR. Elysium has much smaller market share with an estimated $9-10MM in annual revenue. Elysium is also saddled with heavy debt and liabilities well beyond their assets. Lawsuits have wrapped up reducing annual legal expenses significantly.
- 40+ registered clinical studies are in progress on NR focused on various human health benefits, including treatment of cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and metabolic disorders. There is not conclusive evidence of benefit in humans for these disorders yet.
- Partnerships with Walmart, Ro, W.R. Grace, Nestlé, Designs for Health and Watsons, the largest healthcare chain store in Asia. Joint-venture partnerships to expand into mainland China with SinoPharm and South Korea with Juvenis. Pursuing markets in Hong Kong, Macau and Turkey. Approved in the European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and New Zealand. In the EU, received market exclusivity through February, 2025.
- Competition from new market entrants including Juvenescence’s Napa Therapeutics and David Sinclair’s MetroBiotech seems to have failed as they were based on the biosimilar Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) which was not proven effective. Despite the lack of science, NMN is a popular supplement in China with an estimated $700MM in sales. In Q4, 2022, NMN was blocked from sale as a dietary supplement in the US.
- CohBar (NASDAQ: CWBR)
- As of May 23, 2023, CWBR entered into a merger agreement with private cancer immunotherapy company, Morphogenesis. It appears the primary purpose of this merger is to enable Morphogenesis to become public. CWBR shareholders will retain < 15% of the company post-merger. CWBR’s mitochondrial assets, that were once promoted as anti-aging, will be sold off separately. CWBR was unable to create meaningful clinical results from them or find a buyer.
- The new company will be called TuHURA Biosciences, Inc. and pursue its lead cancer treatment, an adjunct to Keytruda, in first line treatment for advanced Merkel Cell Carcinoma.
- Unity Biotechnology (NASDAQ: UBX)
- Co-founded by Judy Campisi, a member of the faculty at the Buck Institute for Aging Research, Jan van Deursen of the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Dr. Daohong Zhou. In 2008, Campisi showed that senescent cells produce damaging proteins, the same year that van Deursen showed that mice engineered to produce large amounts of senescent cells aged rapidly. In 2015, Zhou showed at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that a single drug-like molecule could eliminate senescent cells.
- Investments from Jeff Bezos and Amazon provided beneficial early publicity.
- Claimed to be initial leader in senolytics, the selective removal of senescent (old, poorly functioning) cells from the body to halt, slow or reverse age-associated disease and restore tissue to a more functionally healthy state.
- Senescent cells secrete large quantities of harmful proteins, which cause inflammation, tissue degradation and the production of unwanted growth factors.
- Unity’s injectable therapies disrupt proteins that senescent cells need for survival.
- First failed therapy — Osteoarthritis in the knee
- Phase 1 completed. Achieved some pain reduction and improved functionality.
- Failed Phase 2 in August 2020. Discontinued.
- Second failed therapy — UBX1325, for patients with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD)
- Pursued, despite many more-advanced competitors in this space.
- After four years of trials and significant expense, UBX1325, in the ENVISION study, failed to outperform Regeneron’s (REGN) blockbuster eye therapy aflibercept in a Phase 2 trial for AMD.
- Remaining therapy — will launch 48 week Phase 2b study (BEHOLD) to pursue UBX1325 vs aflibercept for diabetic macular edema. Data expected in Q4, 2024 and Q1, 2025.
- Preclinical neurodegenerative therapeutic targets are paused for lack of funding.
- Licensed their α-klotho solution to Jocasta Neuroscience to remove abnormal Tau from the brain to slow or prevent Alzheimer’s. There are many more-advanced competitors in this space.
- CMO departed company in April, 2023.
- Market cap valuation is ~30MM down from ~340MM at the beginning of 2020.
- About $46MM in assets – liabilities.
- Assets are expected to be sufficient to continue operations through Q3, 2025.
Thanks for reading this article. As your reward for continuing to focus on your health and wealth, treat yourself to 10 billion-dollar bills.
[Disclosure]: Keep Health wrote this article and it expresses our own opinions. We are not receiving compensation for it. We have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. We have no positions in the venture capital funds mentioned. We may at times take either long or short positions in the equities and ETFs mentioned.