Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity Company Investment Opportunities
December 19, 2022
Research from the Stanford Center on Longevity concludes 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, those who have invested in the US Biotech Index (ETF: XBI) lost 44%. As of December 19, 2022, XBI is down 31% for 2022. 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. There will be intense competition to raise sustaining capital among public and private companies over the next couple years. Current market conditions and recent past results in this sector will make this challenging, as will higher borrowing rates. 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. Market conditions and company valuations as of 2021 were historically very high. They’ve corrected quite a bit so far in 2022, but could still go lower. Additional headwinds include the Fed’s pursuit of higher interest rates plus quantitative tightening, reducing money supply and liquidity.
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 7.2% through December 2022 results. It declined 7.9% in 2022, a good result compared to the rest of the market.
- In 2020, AGNG also dropped sharply because of the negative impact of COVID-19, but fully recovered.
- 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%. As of December 2022, it has generated a 5.6% average 5 year annual return. However, most of these gains came from rising 129% in 2020 before declining over 30% in 2021 and over 50% in 2022.
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.”
- Members of BioVerge receive opportunities to invest in emerging startup companies, either individually or as part of BioVerge angel funds.
- They’ve invested in 21 companies, of which three have exited.
- Healthspan Capital
- Led 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.
- 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.
- Matter Bio — stealth company focused on reversing age-driven information loss. Their first intervention focuses on reversing age-accumulated somatic DNA mutations.
- Molecule — marketplace for research projects
- Repair Bio — cholesterol degrading platform.
- Shift Bioscience — machine learning on how to reset cells to a youthful state.
- Zoe Biosciences — anti-aging therapeutics focused on the PAI-1 / apelin axis.
- Juvenescence Ltd (UK)
- Co-founded by British billionaire Jim Mellon.
- Led by Dr. Greg Bailey. 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 over three years, previously raising $165MM.
- Within the JuvTherapeutics pharmaceuticals division, investments include:
- BYOMass to develop therapeutics to modulate the central control of metabolism associated with aging and age-related chronic illnesses based on work of Margaret Jackson.
- 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.
- MDI Therapeutics, focused on the treatment of fibrosis and fibroproliferative disorders using serine-protease therapies.
- Napa Therapeutics, founded by The Buck Institute, Insilico Medicine, and Juvenescence to develop drugs to impede age-related disease. Focused on NAD-type solutions. Primary target did not achieve significant results. Does not appear to still be a viable company.
- Selah Therapeutics, provide ketone-based therapies for the well-being of patients with heart disease.
- 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 JuvTherapeutics regeneration division:
- AgeX Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AGE). 53.7% ownership. Details on AgeX below in publicly traded company section of this article.
- LyGenesis focuses on organ regeneration. Their Phase 2a lead clinical trial starts in June, 2021 for patients with end stage liver disease. They will 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.
- Morphoceuticals focuses on regeneration by allowing patients to regrow tissues within their own bodies.
- Within the JuvTherapeutics 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.
- 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.
- Juvenescence’s Life Division launches products based on licensing and technology from investment companies and internal research. These include:
- Metabolic Switch, a new 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.
- A product to increase autophagy. It expects to improve cognition, boost immunity and help bones, cardiac health, skin and hair.
- Metabolic Switch, a new powdered beverage drink which combines licensing and technology from:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, Eko Health, EXO Imaging, Freenome, 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) — Clean meat focused platform investing in 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.
- Longevity Investor Network
- Longevity VC (USA)
- Run by Laura Deming, a 23 year old MIT dropout.
- Raised $37MM.
- 5 IPOs already among healthspan and life extension investments:
- Decibel Therapeutics (NASDAQ: DBTX) — age-related hearing loss (IPO 2021)
- Epirium — mitochondrial biogenesis
- Fauna Bio — Drug discovery informed by hibernating mammals
- Gordian — a gene therapy discovery platform to improve therapeutic R&D for diseases of aging
- LoyalForDogs — life extension for dogs
- Navitor Pharmaceuticals — mTOR-based therapeutics
- Unity Biotechnology (NASDAQ: UBX) — senolytics (IPO 2018)
- Spring Discovery — accelerating the discovery of therapies for aging
- 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.
- 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:
- 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.
- Quadrascope (Boston and Israel)
- New fund (2022), led by Fiona Miller, Miri Polachek and José Navarro-Betancourt.
- Investments include:
- Deciduous Therapeutics
- Healthy Longevity Clinic — 1 location in Prague. Plan to open another in Florida.
- Immunis Biomedical
- Intervene Immune — treatments for thymus regeneration and age-related decline of the immune system.
- Klogenix — preclinical research on using discoveries around the Klotho gene for oncology targets.
- Mitrix Bio — growing mitochondria for transplantation to bolster energy production and regenerate aged or dysfunctional tissues.
- Nanotics — engineering subtractive nanoparticles to clear tumor-generated immune-inhibiting pathogens from blood.
- Repair Bio
- SuperBio — ai store for biology
Small-Cap Publicly Traded Companies Focused on Healthspan, Life Extension and Longevity Opportunities
There are about two dozen publicly traded, small cap companies focused on healthspan, life extension and longevity opportunities. Keep Health covers five high risk, high reward, small-cap companies. They have struggled mightily over the past few years and continue to do so.
- AgeX Therapeutics (NASDAQ: AGE)
- Targets age-related degeneration with therapeutics that reverse aging and induce regeneration.
- Grand ambitions, but haven’t been able to raise funding and make commercial progress over the past four years. Pursued multiple initiatives and targets which have not moved forward. 2020 layoffs have left them with a minimal staff.
- Follow progress on Twitter at iTR@ResetYourClock (Induced Tissue Regeneration).
- AgeX is the leader 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.
- Can 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 provides two commercial platforms:
- Immunotolerance UniverCyte™ platform for the generation of universal cells.
- Pluripotent stem cell-based PureStem® platform for the derivation and manufacturing of allogeneic, off-the-shelf cells.
- Partial cellular reprogramming to reverse the age of cells is set to open up a whole new field of pioneering therapeutics. We aspire to lead in this revolution using our partial cellular reprogramming technology “iTR™”.
- Plan to execute on external licensing and collaboration cell therapy deals with third parties.
- Market valuation: ~22MM. Has fluctuated between ~22MM to ~$200MM. Extensive patent portfolio is key to its valuation.
- IPO’d in November 2018. Stock peaked at $5.95/share before falling to $0.57. Juvenescence has 53.7% ownership, acquired at ~$2/share and in return for investments to cover cash burn rate.
- ~2MM in tangible assets, $16MM in liabilities. ~1.6MM quarterly burn rate. Insignificant current revenue streams. Juvenescence provides loans to keep them afloat.
- Have three preclinical therapies which have not secured funding to proceed.
- AGEX-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.
- Renelon™ is a drug-based formulation in preclinical development through Reverse Bioengineering subsidiary intended to restore regenerative potential in a wide array of aged tissues afflicted with degenerative disease using the company’s proprietary Induced Tissue Regeneration ( iTR) technology. Some animals in nature can regenerate damaged tissues after trauma; for instance an amputated leg of a Mexican salamander completely regenerates. It is a first-generation iTR product designed to promote scarless tissue repair which the Company plans to initially develop as a topically-administered device for commercial development through a 510(k) application.
- EPRO (Embryonic Promotor Regulated Oncology) is a cancer therapeutic to precisely target and destroy pre-EFT cancers by targeting cells with antigens not expressed in most adult cells, but expressed in cancer. Initial proof-of-concept will be in breast cancer.
- Amarin (NASDAQ:AMRN)
- 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 ~$480MM down from $7.5B as of Jan 1, 2020.
- ~$330MM+ in assets – liabilities. Tangible book value of $1.6 / share equivalent to stock price.
- Q2, 2022 revenue of $95MM. Q3, 2022 revenue of $89MM. 2021 revenue of $580MM. 2020 revenue of $615MM. 2019 revenue of ~$430MM.
- Earnings are estimated to be slightly down or near break-even for 2022. Not profitable and not expected to be profitable through 2023. Analysts project losses of 0.32 /share and 0.22 / share, respectively.
- 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. They are facing stiff competition from less-expensive generics produced by Hikma Pharmaceuticals and Dr. Reddy’s.
- 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.
- Planning launches into Asia and the Middle East as well.
- Alternative proprietary competitive solutions such as Epanova have been discontinued. However, experiencing generic competition in the United States.
- 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.
- 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 slowed considerably.
- 2021 Tru-Niagen revenue of ~68MM. 2020 revenue of ~$60MM. Tru-Niagen can be ordered online directly from Chromadex or Amazon.
- ~30MM loss in 2021 including one-time legal fees of $10MM. ~20MM loss in 2020. Analysts project ~$98MM revenue in 2022 and 0.12 cents per share loss, but 1H ’22 revenue results were below that target. Lost 0.04 per share in Q3, 2022 on $17MM in revenue. Hope to achieve profitability in Q4, 2022.
- ~$3MM total assets less liabilities. Cash is tight.
- 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. Major lawsuits have wrapped up, so annual legal expenses will drop 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)
- Founded in 2007, CohBar discovered hundreds of genes in the mitochondrial genome that encode peptides (small proteins), and identified the first mitochondrial derived peptide (MDP) associated with age related diseases in human centenarians and their offspring. Studies in animal models demonstrated metabolic regulation and protection, cytoprotection and anti-inflammatory effects across multiple age-related diseases.
- Peptides encoded in the mitochondrial genome are messengers regulating multiple organs and systems in the body. CohBar discovered 100 peptides and >1,000 analogs. 12 issued patents, 65+ CohBar patent filings.
- CohBar’s peptide therapeutics target chronic and age-related diseases with underlying mitochondrial dysfunction, such as NASH, obesity, cancer, fibrotic diseases, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. US healthcare spending for these diseases tops $500 billion annually.
- Market Cap: $< 5MM, down from $66MM in April 2021. Executed 30-1 reverse split in 2H, 2022.
- $18MM in cash at end of Q3, 2022. Quarterly burn rate of $2MM.
- Lead compound, CB4211, is in Phase 1b clinical trial of 20 fully-enrolled people for an advanced form of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease and impact on weight loss. Results in Q3, 2021 were unimpressive. They seek to find a partner for it, but have not been able to make that happen.
- In Q1, 2021, initiated IND work for lead clinical candidate CB5138-3 for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF) and other fibrotic diseases. Expect to file IND in 2H, 2023.
- On April 27, 2021, CohBar replaced their CEO and Chair of the Board.
- Unity Biotechnology (NASDAQ: UBX)
- 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.
- Lead therapeutic UBX1325 for patients with diabetic macular edema or wet age-related macular degeneration. There are many more-advanced competitors in this space.
- In Q4, 2020, initiated Phase 1 study of UBX1325 in patients with diabetic macular edema (DME) or age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
- In April 2021, UNITY published a study in Cell Metabolism featuring a novel mechanism – Bcl-xL inhibition – for treating age-related eye diseases by restoring vascular health in the retina. By selectively eliminating the senescent cells accumulating in diseased blood vessels of the eye, researchers identified a way to target diseased vasculature while leaving healthy blood vessels intact, thus enabling the retina to repair itself.
- 24-week safety and efficacy data from the Phase 2 DME study (BEHOLD) determined that a single injection of UBX1325 led to a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in mean Best Corrected Visual Acuity (BCVA) compared to sham control. In addition, based on the central subfield thickness (CST), UBX1325 was found to stabilize the retinal structure, while those who received the sham treatment experienced a worsening effect. Patients enrolled in the study were under regular anti-VEGF therapy such as EYLEA from Regeneron (REGN), the current standard of care for DME. A Phase 3 trial will be initiated in 2H, 2023.
- 16-week data from the Phase 2 wet AMD study (ENVISION) expected by year-end 2022, 24-week data expected in Q1 2023.
- 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.
- Failed therapy — Osteoarthritis in the knee
- Phase 1 completed. Achieved some pain reduction and improved functionality.
- Failed Phase 2 in August 2020. Discontinued.
- Market cap valuation is ~38MM down from ~340MM at the beginning of 2020.
- About $80MM in liquid assets – liabilities as of end of Q3, 2022. In August, 2022, raised $45MM in highly dilutive round at $0.70 per share plus a 5 year warrant at $0.85 / share to complete BEHOLD and ENVISION studies.
- Quarterly burn rate of $13MM, mostly from trials, research and development. Assets are sufficient to continue operations through Q1, 2024.
- 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.
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.