This short interview with Gary Hudson of Oisin Biotechnologies (and more recently Turn.bio) covers some of the history and the present status of the company and its spinoff OncoSenX. Oisin Biotechnologies is one of the more ambitious senolytics companies working on means of destroying senescent cells in old tissues in order to produce rejuvenation. The company is using a programmable gene therapy approach rather than the small molecule development that the majority of other programs are undertaking.
"As we all know, the dilemma faced by any company that wishes to attack aging as a disease is that the FDA doesn't yet accept that premise, and requires biotechs to identify an indication - a specific disease - to be treated by any new investigational drug. While we can accommodate the FDA rules by picking a specific indication, the normal pressures of business will inevitably require that whatever indication is first chosen will dictate the path for the company into the far future. An aging-focused start-up will thus become a cancer or heart or kidney disease company, and lose its ability to attack the basis for most age-associated maladies. I wanted to avoid that trap at all costs."
This led to a model where Oisín is the platform company, providing the technology to use its unique DNA-plasmid and nanoparticle approach to kill cells based on their internal state. "Once the platform is proven scientifically and pre-clinically demonstrated, our plan was that Oisín would spin out specific indications or classes of indications, either via a conventional out-license to other biotechs or big pharmas, or as partially or wholly-owned subsidiary ventures. The oncology spinout, OncoSenX, is an example of this. In this way, Oisín controls the platform technology and manufactures the therapeutics to maintain quality control, while following the FDA-mandated path to clinical for new drugs. Additionally, since some investors will be more comfortable with conventional indication-focused ventures, this model opens up new avenues for funding, partnerships and collaborations with other companies, broadening the market appeal of our technology."""We've raised over $8m to date for both Oisín and OncoSenX, and are currently in the process of raising new funding rounds. Oisín has a Series Seed round underway for up to $5m while OncoSenX is raising a Series A of up to $30m. Oisín's funding will be used for additional preclinical studies prior to an IND for an aging-related disease indication while OncoSenX's will be used for the Phase 1 and 2 oncology trials in humans." The company's next goal is to conduct a pre-clinical trial application meeting for OncoSenX to clear the path to a Phase 1 safety and efficacy trial against human solid tumors to be conducted in Canada within a year.