Juvenescence Announces a Small Molecule Senolytics Joint Venture with Antoxerene

The Ichor Therapeutics contingent present at the Ending Age-Related Diseases conference in New York last week were quite pleased that the timing worked out to allow them to announce during the conference a $10 million investment from Juvenescence into a joint venture with their portfolio company Antoxerene. Antoxerene started as a protein biotechnology infrastructure company, but the staff are now turning that infrastructure to the discovery and development of senolytic compounds, those capable of selective destruction of senescent cells. Antoxerene joins a number of existing companies working on various approaches to this goal: this diversity bodes well for our future health and wellbeing, given that senescent cells are thought to be one of the root causes of aging.

As regular readers will recall, the Juvenescence principals intend their fund to be a sizable and long term player in the commercialization of longevity science. They are quite vocal, and their published materials and comments to date suggest that they are supportive of the SENS model of rejuvenation based on damage repair - which of course has included and advocated senescent cell clearance since day one, long prior to the present growth of interest in this line of research. It is a pity that it took so long for senolytic research to become widely appreciated; from a purely technical viewpoint, meaningful progress could have been made, albeit at much greater cost, twenty years ago or more.

Antoxerene, Inc., a portfolio company of Ichor Therapeutics, Inc., focused on small molecule drug discovery for pathways of aging, announced today the launch of a joint venture with Juvenescence Limited. The joint venture, called FoxBio, Inc., will develop Antoxerene's collection of small molecules that target senescent cells. Juvenescence will support the venture with $10 million in equity financing and drug development expertise.

"There has been a lot of interest surrounding the therapeutic applications of senolytic drugs - compounds that clear toxic senescent cells - particularly with respect to age-associated disease. As molecular pathways unique to senescent cells have begun to be identified, we can now develop drugs to target these pathways. We are eager to work with the Juvenescence team, whose experience in drug development, technical depth, and visionary leadership will help us to deliver on the immense potential of this field."

CEO of Juvenescence Dr. Bailey said, "this is one of the main focuses of Juvenescence - to modify aging through the clearance of senescent cells. FoxBio plays to both companies' strengths, which is why we are excited about working with the Antoxerene team. We are fascinated with the Antoxerene platform and its ability to discover intriguing compounds in the area of senescence. This is a great fit with Juvenescence's track record in drug development, so FoxBio is a very exciting new company in the area of longevity."

Link: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180712005565/en/Antoxerene-Closes-10-Million-Deal-Juvenescence-Develop


Really cannot understand, why investors like small molecule approach so much while company which follows real powerfull and flexible ways like immuno or gene therapy (Oisin, Siwa) usually cannot expect such money?

Posted by: Ariel at July 16th, 2018 2:30 PM

10 M$ are not that much, however it is a step, albeit small, in the right direction

>Really cannot understand, why investors like small molecule approach so much while company which follows real powerfull and flexible ways like immuno or gene therapy (Oisin, Siwa) usually cannot expect such money?

Small molecules are more or less business as usual. You can patent each on of them, if it works you can milk the market , each dose can be produced easily and the R&D costs could be ammortiezed, they have known financial/investment dynamics.

The therapies are a completely different approach. They will be much harder to certify and patent. Each "dose" will be orders of magnitude more expensive to produce , since it will require specialized lab equipment and multiple specialists. And probably many visits. It will be more like having a LASIK with multiple visits.

Oisin will be providing a platform, and probably a bunch of pre-packaged cures. From investor's point of view it is much harder to estimate and predict, even if the cures work. And then they are too revolutionary but yet not appealing to the "disruption" crowd.

Posted by: cuberat at July 16th, 2018 4:51 PM

@ariel - Oisin's lipid delivery technology is unproven in humans, whereas Unity's small molecules already have safety profiles in humans.

Plus getting a gene therapy through the FDA is probably a nightmare compared to getting a small molecule approved.

Posted by: Jim at July 16th, 2018 6:40 PM

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