A Profile of Kelsey Moody and Ichor Therapeutics
Kelsey Moody's Ichor Therapeutics is one of number of biotech ventures to have emerged from the SENS rejuvenation research community over the past decade. Earlier this year Fight Aging! invested a small amount in Ichor's initiative to push forward with the development of clearance of metabolic waste compounds from the lysosome. The company will be building upon work carried out at the SENS Research Foundation in order to create a therapy for age-related macular degeneration, as the existence of these waste compounds appears to be an important root cause of retinal damage. I think that Moody's talent for the business side of things is quite well illustrated by the fact that he can engineer the publication of a press article like this one:
Inside a laboratory tucked in the LaFayette hills south of Syracuse, a small biotech company is quietly developing drugs that may show promise to treat, prevent and possibly even reverse macular degeneration, a disease that's a leading cause of vision loss. The new drug therapies being developed and tested are designed to work on two varieties of the eye disease: age-related macular degeneration and juvenile-onset macular degeneration, said Kelsey Moody, who founded the biotech company Ichor Therapeutics in 2013. Moody was a second-year medical student when he started his company with a $540,000 grant from Life Extension Foundation, a Florida-based non-profit that funds research in aging, age-related diseases and ways to extend human lifespan. Ichor has so far attracted more than $3.2 million from investors, foundations and local government.
Moody says he's particularly interested in age-related diseases because he said they don't get as much attention and visibility as other types. If the treatments for macular degeneration work, the enzymes, derived from several sources, will be available as an injection. Moody is in what he calls "stealth mode" right now as he works to test the validity of the treatments, so he's not giving away too many details about them. He plans to publish his findings once he, in conjunction with Syracuse University, secures patents to protect his work. Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in people older than 50. Moody said his team believes macular degeneration is caused in part by "junk that accumulates in the eye" over time. Just so much debris can build up in the eye before it begins to cause problems, he said. There are multiple types of this substance that accumulate, and Moody said it may cause the eye disease or it could be a side effect of it. He said Ichor has developed "therapeutic" enzymes that break down that "junk" or particles. "Either we hit a home run and cure the disease or, if that fails, we have the answer to the important question of what happens when we get rid of the junk."
Dr. Szilard Kiss, an ophthalmologist and an associate professor of ophthalmology at Weil Cornell Medical College, who is familiar with research into this condition and read up on Moody's work, said Moody is aiming at the A2E molecule which is one of the components of that toxic buildup. Other researchers are working on this as well, but without success to date. "It's a tough nut to crack, as it's difficult to soak up that A2E. If what Ichor is doing works and can treat the dry form and prevent the wet form of macular degeneration, it would be really great." Robert P. Doyle, a Syracuse University chemistry and biology professor and an associate professor of medicine at SUNY Upstate Medical University, agrees with Kiss. "The science behind what Ichor is doing is very sound," said Doyle, who is working with Moody to patent the drug treatments. "The technology is very new, and there's no reason it won't work, but it will of course have to be validated." Doyle, who says he and Moody will publish a paper soon, said Moody excels both as a research scientist and as a businessperson. "He's done an awful lot of scientific research in his career before starting his own company, but he also has an MBA and is good at business. He has good ideas and he is willing to have them challenged. He's fearless."