Looking at the Commercial Development of Rapamycin

The standard script is being followed for drug development based on rapamycin, by the look of things. Rapamycin reliably extends life in mice, which is more than can be said for the last set of overhyped alleged longevity-enhancing drugs, but it's still not worth getting excited about this sort of thing. The most likely end result is a rapamycin-like drug that lacks the worst side-effects, is of marginal benefit to humans, and which is only legally available as a palliative treatment for people suffering late-stage age-related disease - the regulatory environment in the US blocks all other options. Pharmacology to slow aging is simply not a viable path to greatly extended healthy life, and is of very limited use for old people.

A new study by Dr. Yiqiang Zhang and colleagues of the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, has found that mice fed the drug rapamycin as part of their diet starting when they were 19 months old (roughly equivalent to 60 human years of age) had lifespan increases more modest than in some previous studies. Compared to untreated mice, the lifespan of the treated rodents increased by an average of about 3 percent, or 7 percent for mice who had lived to older age already.

The ability of rapamycin-related drugs to potentially slow the aging process as suggested in the animal experiments at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio like the ones cited above, and others, led to establishment of a new biotech company, Rapamycin Holdings Inc., which is licensing exclusive rights to intellectual property central to several aspects of the rapamycin-related drugs, and which hopes to exploit new commercial possibilities for rapamycin. The company has announced that since 2010 it has been working to advance commercialization of products stemming from the patent pending technology developed by the Health Science Center researchers, and that more clinical trials will yield the next preclinical results by mid-year 2013, and advance Phase 1 trials shortly thereafter.

Rapamycin Holdings will be looking to raise an additional $6 million as it approaches the point of taking its first drug product to Phase 1 clinical trials. On December 7, 2012, Rapamycin Holdings Chief Executive Officer George Fillis announced that the company has acquired those exclusive rights from the UT Health Science Center and its collaborator, Southwest Research Institute. Rapamycin Holdings signed the license agreement with STTM, a multi-institution University of Texas technology-management office operated by the Health Science Center.

Link: http://bionews-tx.com/news/2013/05/27/rapamycin-holdings-hopes-to-exploit-commercial-potential-of-ut-health-science-center-anti-aging-drug-research/


It's studies like this that make me loose all hope of ever getting any real longevity drugs/therapies - this pathetic 7% extension of remaining life will likely be 2% by the time it reaches larger animals (as this is what happens with Calorie restriction, you start at 30% for mice but by the time it reaches dogs and humans it's more like 10%) - so what is the point of this research and money going into it - all we will get eventually is an expensive drug in maybe a decades time that adds a few months to an old persons like - big deal.

If we were seeing a 300% increase in mouse life span (rather than the pathetic 3%) then that might result in a 100% increase in human life span, now that would be something worth working towards.

Posted by: Geoff at May 28th, 2013 2:43 PM

How long (percent) has SENS extended lifespan in experiments?

Posted by: bobsmith at May 28th, 2013 8:34 PM

@bobsmith: Zero of course, because it hasn't been implemented yet. If SENS therapies were done then they wouldn't need funding.

If you help fund SENS research, you should do so because you are convinced by the scientific evidence that its specific goals form the most plausible approach to rejuvenation. A good starting point is the SENS Research Foundation introduction, where you can follow links to further explanations and references to papers, etc:


If you can marshal evidence that convinces you that another extant development plan is better, you should help fund that instead. I don't think that such a better plan exists, and so far as I'm aware neither do the researchers who are working on the only other ongoing approaches to extending life, which are drug development programs such as that involving rapamycin: they think that their work will take a very long time to come to realization and will produce only small gains. That isn't just my opinion.

Posted by: Reason at May 28th, 2013 8:54 PM

What if we bought the drug illegally?

Posted by: plap at May 29th, 2013 6:34 AM

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