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.