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Juvenesence Expands its Support of AgeX Therapeutics

Juvenescence is one of the more recent venture groups to become enthusiastically involved in supporting the development of means to treat aging, and the organization's principals are now beginning to build their positions in earnest. As this unfolds, we obtain insight into their interpretation of the field of longevity science, the lines of development that they believe to be plausible and interesting. The founding members have expressed a strong interest in SENS rejuvenation research programs, but will they follow up with the investments to match? It always seems impolite to ask that question, but our community has been disappointed in the past.

You might recall that Juvenescence invested in AgeX Therapeutics not so long ago. AgeX aims to build out an platform that is intended as an incremental advance over present approaches to regenerative medicine, mixing in telomerase upregulation with the production and deployment of cell therapies. Juvenescence has now expanded their support of AgeX Therapeutics. It will be interesting to see how this line of work matures, and whether the AgeX staff choose to explore some of the surprising outcomes that are emerging from the induced pluripotency field these days, particularly those resulting from inducing pluripotency in vivo - something that sounds like a terrible idea, but has in fact produced initially intriguing results in mice.

BioTime, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on degenerative diseases, today announced a new strategic alignment between AgeX Therapeutics and Juvenescence Limited, a global leader in developing therapeutics focused on improving and extending human lifespans. Under the terms of the agreement, Juvenescence will purchase, in a single transaction, 14.4 million shares of AgeX Therapeutics from BioTime for $43.2 million. "We feel it is a great fit with the Juvenescence team of drug developers and scientists. First and foremost, we look forward to developing and bringing products to the patients as novel treatments to potentially offset some of the maladies of getting old."

AgeX Therapeutics, Inc., a subsidiary of BioTime, Inc., is a biotechnology company focused on the development of novel therapeutics for age-related degenerative disease. The company's mission is to apply the proprietary technology platform related to telomerase-mediated cell immortality and regenerative biology to address a broad range of diseases of aging. The products under development include two cell-based therapies derived from telomerase-positive pluripotent stem cells and two product candidates derived from the company's proprietary induced Tissue Regeneration (iTR) technology.

AGEX-BAT1 and AGEX-VASC1 are cell-based therapies in the preclinical stage of development comprised of young regenerative cells designed to correct metabolic imbalances in aging and to restore vascular support in ischemic tissues respectively. AGEX-iTR1547 is a drug-based formulation in preclinical development intended to restore regenerative potential in a wide array of aged tissues afflicted with degenerative disease using the company's proprietary iTR technology. Renelon is a first-generation iTR product designed to promote scarless tissue repair which the Company plans to initially develop as a topically-administered device.

Link: http://www.agexinc.com/biotime-to-receive-43-million-from-juvenescence/

Comments

Generally, this is a good news. More funding going towards aging research always helps even if it is not allocated to the most promising areas.

Also, this sends a market signal, so a lot of others will follow, or at least, start looking into the area.

And those are the early birds. The moment there is a proven human intervention the word be a lot of hype, Magnus and investment bubbles. I wold say in 5 years we might have the opposite financial problem. A lot of money chasing the few legitimate researches in the industry...

Posted by: Cuberat at August 10th, 2018 8:28 AM

This is nonsense

It is the old Biotime / Mike West / Al Kingsley on-going nonsense of perpetual spin-offs that go in a heap of unrealized promises and subsidiaries - for anyone that cares to research the last 30 years of this company (BTX) and previous iterations

And what % of the $44 million goes to corporate BioTime for these wizards to play with?? - versus into actual, specific AgeX programs?

Looks like Mellon / ADG have either been scammed by this same game, or they are going to continue the ruse on the other side of the Atlantic where there are not so many angry BTX investors

Posted by: BioInvest99 at August 10th, 2018 9:14 AM

@BioInvest99, what is the problem? 30 years ago there were no 99% of current engineering technology and many of them emerged from work of Mike West! Do you know that AgeX make the most clean iPSC cell lines? Human iPSC has emerged only 4 years ago. What progress did you expect ever in 90s before iPSC, CRISPR, computers so on? Real progress begins only now.

Posted by: Ariel at August 10th, 2018 12:50 PM

@Ariel

I suggest you do your research a bit better on the topic of iPSC - Shinya Yamanaka and James Thomson run circles around Mike West in the scientific community, as do many others for that matter

But this is not about who has the "cleanest" cells

It's about a company that has used the same model to siphon hundreds of millions of dollars from investors the last 30 years, with little to show in terms of marketed products

https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2011/05/05/the-bearish-case-for-biotime.aspx

https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Investors-Resurrecting-BioTime-the-Freddy-2982931.php

And now, at a point when the investment pools are finally starting to flow into the space, one of the main figure heads, ADG, links up with this very flawed group and perpetuates the same model - shameful

Posted by: BioInvest99 at August 10th, 2018 6:19 PM

BioInvest99, Sincler has spent 10 years and $500 000 on Sirtuin research which finally got nothing. And such a research cannot got any useful things because CR does not work in people and this is known for 20 years! While Sincler is very respectful in LEAF and among LF community .

This is work of AgeX and I am sure this is much more important in any sense -- http://www.oncotarget.com/index.php?journal=oncotarget&page=article&op=view&path%5B%5D=23748&path%5B%5D=74739

Maybe you believe that Apollo Mission also was a foolish expense?

Posted by: Ariel at August 11th, 2018 10:59 AM

BioInvest99, sorry, mean Sinclair has spent $500M! When he sold Sirtris

Posted by: Ariel at August 11th, 2018 11:11 AM

@Ariel

I'm not sure what comparing Sinclair's work has to do with any of this - and he was funded by a group of institutional investors and GSK - not 000's of small public investors

And the Apollo mission?? the last time I looked NASA was not selling investments

And this paper makes my point exactly - building a public company story off an early in-vitro assay for COX7A1 to sell this iTR vision?? and slap ADG face on the side of the box??

Hey - invest in the company if you want, but you may do yourself some service by doing some research that is more than a couple years old

And ask where the $44 million will be spent? on AgeX? Embryome Sciences? Asterias?
OncoCyte? Cell Cure Neurosciences? OrthoCyte? ES Cell International? LifeMap Sciences? ReCyte Therapeutics?

Down the rabbit hole.......

Posted by: BioInvest99 at August 11th, 2018 12:35 PM

@BioInvest99 said, "And what % of the $44 million goes to corporate BioTime for these wizards to play with?? - versus into actual, specific AgeX programs?"

This question suggests some lack of basic understanding of the transaction just announced. Key sentence in the section Reason quoted from the article he chose (there are many): "Juvenescence will purchase, in a single transaction, 14.4 million shares of AgeX Therapeutics from BioTime for $43.2 million."

A relatively simple lay-interpretation of this: Juvenescence isn't injecting new money into *AgeX* in this transaction at all. BioTime owns many of the AgeX shares from when AgeX was set up. Juvenescence is purchasing a bunch of these shares from BioTime, so BioTime gets the money and Mellon & company get increased equity % in AgeX (while BioTime gets less). So to answer your question, none of the money goes into any AgeX programs, obviously. This looks like a natural progression in separating BioTime (the parent company) from its corporate spin-off AgeX. It is a sign that Mellon & company think that AgeX's projects are promising and its leadership is reasonable (without saying much of anything about what they think of BioTime and the prospects of its projects or its past spinoff strategy).

Couple important points to keep in mind when trying to decide what one thinks of AgeX: (a) Jim Mellon and the other folks at Juvenescence are clearly not unsophisticated investors. (b) Mellon participated in the series A round for AgeX about a year ago, so he has definitely had direct knowledge of what's been going on there and is still choosing to double-down (or triple down) on the bet. (c) Of the big money that has poured into the aging field in the past few years and made a big splash, Mellon's entrance more than most of the others seems to be looking seriously at rejuvenation efforts, based on where dollars have actually been flowing. (d) Besides Mellon & AdG, consider also that AgeX's $10M series A round (see articles from last summer) also included investments by Kizoo / Greve / Forever Healthy (same folks who brought you the Undoing Aging conference) and by John Mauldin (also clearly not an unsophisticated investor even if biology isn't his field). It was reported this summer that Mauldin now sits on the AgeX board, so he clearly also decided to double-down in some sense (with his personal time in this case).

This is all easily available public info. None of it is any guarantee of success of course, but the label "rabbit hole" strikes me as far off. Lots of areas of technology are pursued with little success (and lots of investment) for long periods before the lines of work eventually start to really pay off.

Posted by: Karl Pfleger at August 14th, 2018 11:14 PM

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