BioAge announces $170 million raise to accelerate development of obesity therapeutics

Oversubscribed Series D financing will support Phase 2 trial of new oral obesity drug and other programs focused on metabolic diseases.

California-based biotech BioAge today announced the completion of an oversubscribed Series D financing round to the tune of $170 million – a significant private biotech funding. Led by Sofinnova Investments, New investors Longitude Capital, RA Capital, Cormorant Asset Management, RTW Investments, SV Health Investors, OrbiMed Advisors, Sands Capital, Pivotal bioVenture Partners, Osage University Partners, Lilly Ventures, and Amgen Ventures also participated in the round alongside existing investors including Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) Bio + Health.

BioAge is developing novel therapies for obesity and metabolic diseases, and it will use the funding to support a Phase 2 clinical development of its lead compound azelaprag, an oral drug that mimics the activity of apelin, a regulatory peptide released by the body after exercise.

The clinical trial will be run in combination with Lilly’s Zepbound (tirzepatide) and other incretins for treatment of obesity. The studies with Zepbound are expected to begin in mid-2024, in collaboration with Eli Lilly’s Chorus organization.

Longevity.Technology: Semaglutide (marketed as Wegovy for obesity and Ozempic for diabetes) has proved to be a blockbuster for Danish firm Novo Nordisk, but it is administered via injection – a drug that is taken orally would be revolutionary. BioAge’s drug azelaprag is taken orally, and could significantly boost weight loss and improve body composition when combined with the aforementioned leading injectable obesity drugs. Azelaprag works via a new mechanism that complements GLP-1s – it mimics the effects of a natural hormone released during exercise, targeting processes that help burn fat while preserving muscle function.

In a Phase 1b trial, azelaprag promoted muscle metabolism, increased energy expenditure and prevented muscle atrophy in healthy older volunteers at bedrest. In preclinical studies, azelaprag doubled the weight loss achieved on incretins (hormones that stimulate a decrease in blood glucose levels) with improvements in body composition and muscle function.

Longevity biotech: ‘This is still just the beginning’
Dr Kristen Fortney is CEO and co-founder of BioAge

“We’re thrilled to partner with a top-tier syndicate of investors and pharma companies at the forefront of developing novel therapeutics for metabolic diseases,” said Kristen Fortney, PhD, CEO and co-founder of BioAge.

“This funding will support us through key clinical milestones and data readouts for our lead compound azelaprag in obesity, as well as advance our earlier-stage metabolic aging pipeline. The azelaprag program highlights our discovery platform’s ability to identify novel approaches to treating metabolic disease.”

James Healy, MD, PhD, managing partner at Sofinnova Investments, will join BioAge as Chairman of the Board, and Patrick Enright, MBA, managing director at Longitude Capital, will join as Board Director.

“We’re excited to support BioAge’s commitment to develop potentially life-changing therapies that improve patient lives in obesity and other metabolic diseases,” said Healy. “The BioAge management team has laid very important scientific and clinical groundwork for the azelaprag program, and we look forward to working with the team to advance its clinical programs.”

Photograph: BioAge