The first wave of longevity industry companies to reach clinical trials and large funding rounds are those that focus on the well established methodology of small molecule development. Many are also platform companies that have developed approaches to speed up the expensive and time-consuming tasks of screening and designing small molecules. With the exception of the small molecule senolytics companies, these treatments presently tend to epitomize what the SENS Research Foundation folk would call "messing with metabolism," a poor alternative to actually targeting and fixing underlying causes of aging. This messing with metabolism usually means finding a molecule that can provoke cells into undertaking some of the same repair and maintenance mechanisms that occur in response to exercise, calorie restriction, heat, cold, toxins, and other stresses. The outcomes in mice are usually no better than the benefits resulting from exercise or calorie restriction.
We live in a world conditioned to expect very little from medicine to treat diseases of aging - no great surprise given that, historically, no-one tried to target the causes of aging. There is only so much you can do to keep a damaged machine running if you persist in not repairing the damage. We have a regulatory system that is geared up to the task of picking out marginally successful therapies from those that do nothing. In this world, turning up with a therapy that is 25% or 50% as good as the results of structured exercise in old people, small improvements across the board for all aspects of aging, is a real step forward from the status quo. But it is still a very poor strategy in comparison to that of the SENS program. We should be repairing the causes of aging, not tinkering with the broken metabolism of older people to try to make it a little more resilient to the burden of damage. Repair is the only way that we humans are going to gain additional decades and more of healthy life.
BioAge Labs, Inc., a biotechnology company developing medicines to treat aging and aging-related diseases, today announced that it has raised $90 million in an oversubscribed Series C financing. The raise was co-led by Andreessen Horowitz and serial entrepreneur, Elad Gil, and included new investors Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, AARP Foundation (through the RockCreek Impact Fund) and Phi-X Capital, the fund of genomics entrepreneur Mostafa Ronaghi, among others. Current investors including Caffeinated Capital, Redpoint Ventures, PEAR Ventures, AME Cloud Ventures, Felicis Ventures, and others also participated.
Proceeds from the financing will be used to build and develop a diversified portfolio of therapies that increase healthspan and lifespan, augment BioAge's artificial intelligence (AI)-driven approach to map the molecular pathways that impact human longevity, and further expand capabilities to test drug candidates in predictive models of human diseases of aging. "These additional funds will support advancement of our pipeline of medicines that target these pathways to reverse or eradicate diseases and extend healthspan. We look forward to advancing our first platform-derived therapies, BGE-117 and BGE-175 into clinical trials in the first half of 2021."
"Drugs that target aging have potential to treat several morbid diseases and improve the lives of older adults. BioAge has built a proprietary engine to analyze molecular signatures in aging populations, and to advance data-driven hypotheses to identify existing clinical-stage drugs that are ready for Phase 2 efficacy trials in age-related diseases. I'm excited to work with them as they scale their platform and develop multiple therapies to improve the health of older individuals."