The involvement of In Silico Medicine in the formation of Napa Therapeutics to run drug discovery based on advances in understanding of mitochondrial metabolism in aging is an example of the premium placed on any approach that might plausibly reduce the cost and time involved in finding drug candidates. We will no doubt see a lot more of this sort of thing as computational methodologies become a plausible replacement for greater portions of the existing costly, hands-on, mechanical screening processes.
Draw a triangle in the present field of aging research with the three points set at calorie restriction mimetics, exercise mimetics, and general tinkering with energy metabolism, then efforts to increase NAD+ levels in mitochondria might be found somewhere in the midst of that space. That line of work is growing in popularity, and the early human trials of compounds like nicotinamide riboside suggest that the effect size might be worth chasing if the costs are low. (Though of course the development costs are never low for any approach that must pass through the full regulatory process).
Helping mitochondria to function more effectively in old tissues may help modestly with a variety of issues, given that faltering energy generation is a feature of aging, though it remains to be seen as to just how large the effect sizes are at the end of the day. This is not rejuvenation; this is pushing a damaged engine a little harder, this is overriding an aspect of the aged state of metabolism without addressing the underlying damage that causes that aged state. Sometimes that can work to some degree, sometimes it doesn't.
The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Insilico Medicine, and Juvenescence Ltd announced today that they have formed Napa Therapeutics, Ltd to develop drugs against a novel aging-related target. The Buck Institute is one of the leading research centers in the world focused solely on research on aging and the elimination of age-related disease. Insilico Medicine is an AI company focused on a range of verticals devoted to aging. Juvenescence is a company focused on developing drugs to modify aging and the diseases of aging.
Napa Therapeutics is based on groundbreaking research in NAD metabolism conducted in the lab of Eric Verdin, MD, President and CEO of the Buck Institute. The Verdin lab will collaborate with Napa, using Insilico's drug development engine to speed the discovery of new compounds. "I am most excited by this model and the ability to combine the quality science of the Buck Institute with the remarkable deep learning engine at Insilico Medicine. To me this is another big step in the evolving process of using AI with human intelligence to extract the best of both systems. Napa Therapeutics lets Juvenescence deepen our collaboration with the Buck Institute and with Insilico Medicine. We hope to shorten the time required to identify molecules that can be brought to the clinic and most importantly help patients."