Basepaws acquisition – exploring longevity beyond human health

Animal health leader Zoetis scoops up Basepaws in a move that will expand and innovate feline R&D.

Much of the longevity space is focused the incredible potential there is to extend both human lifespan and healthspan, but the discoveries scientists are making today have applications far beyond human health. Enter Basepaws, a pet health and genetics company which is using the latest innovations to revolutionise the well-being and life expectancy of humanity’s beloved feline companions.

Longevity.Technology: As we are living longer, healthier lives, so too do we want the same for our animal companions. But research in this area has a broader scope – humans and cats share approximately 90% of their DNA, with human and cat genomes each having about 20,000 protein-encoding genes, of which nearly 16,000 are nearly identical between them and us [1]. From modeling disease to mining genetic dark matter, understanding cat longevity is good for both our species; it was researching the immune response to coronavirus infection in cats that led directly to the development of the medication remdesivir to treat COVID [2]. Cat People, anyone?

Basepaws uses scientific discoveries in genetics and microbiome research to offer genetic testing kits for cats. The company offers three tests – one which examines breed and health, one for dental health and a complete genome sequencing test.

Owners send cell samples from their cats that Basepaws scientists compare with the whole cat genome and Basepaws genome database to identify vulnerability to diseases and breed characteristics. Cat owners can use these reports to understand their pets’ health and wellbeing and proactively approach any treatment, helping solve chronic issues before they arise. The reports are veterinarian-approved, supported by Basepaws’s Veterinary Advisory Board of 14 animal health experts.

The company has flourished and secured additional deals, including from “sharks” Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec on the US television programme Shark Tank.

Basepaws has now been acquired by Zoetis, a leading animal health company. Zoetis will benefit from Basepaws’ expansive database of feline genetics, helping to expand their R&D in feline health and inspire future innovations.

READ MORE: Drug discovery secrets of the animal kingdom

Garri Zmudze, the Managing Partner of LongeVC, a venture capital firm backing visionary biotech and longevity projects, previously invested in Basepaws during its pre-seed stage as he was excited about the work the company was doing to apply cutting-edge science to a typically underexplored area of biotech.

Garri Zmudze, Managing Partner, LongeVC

A seasoned angel investor, Zmudze also supported AI drug discovery firm Insilico Medicine in its pre-seed stage. Insilico Medicine is currently leading the world’s first-in-human trial of an AI-discovered drug with Series D funding support from top firms like Warburg Pincus, B Capital Group, Qiming Venture Partners, BOLD Capital Partners, Pavilion Capital and more. Zmudze is also the Executive Coordinator of the Longevity Science Foundation, a non-profit organisation funding research on longer and healthier human lifespans.

As a Managing Partner of LongeVC, Zmudze brings his investing expertise to enhance LongeVC’s vetting process, helping to ensure potential portfolio companies have the characteristics needed to succeed in the fast-paced and cutting-edge longevity space.

Offering his thanks and congratulations to the Basepaws team, especially CEO Anna Skaya and Head of Strategy Warren Rickard, Zmudze said: “Basepaws is changing the way we view the health and longevity of our pets. Biotech applications go far beyond human medical treatments, and Basepaws has shown that there is a market appetite for such innovations. Congratulations to the Basepaws team for this achievement. The longevity sector looks forward to seeing more from these visionary minds in the future.”

READ MORE: LongeVC launches new $35m Longevity investment fund

[1] https://genome.cshlp.org/content/17/11/1675.long
[2] https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1098612X19825701

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